Boat journey reveals eye-popping Cape Fear flooding in Cedar Creek

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They call themselves “river people,” but even families who live along the Cape Fear River in Cumberland County’s Cedar Creek community were not prepared for the historic flooding brought by Hurricane Florence.

“It just breaks my heart, it tears me apart, just makes me feel so bad because there’s nothing you can do except try to help them build back,” said Brian Carter, a lifelong Cedar Creek resident who took us in his boat to see the flooding firsthand.

Carter said the river is flowing 50 feet higher than normal and flooding extends at least a quarter-mile beyond the river banks in many areas. Forecasts do not call for the Cape Fear to fall below major flood stage until Saturday afternoon.

“All I can say is it’s just bad,” said Carter. “It’s going to come down, but it’s ruined a lot of people’s homes.”

Our journey on his boat took us to the inundated home of his good friend Donald Lewis. Lewis said he recently finished rebuilding his home from the devastating flooding of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

“I built it for my wife and it’s gone,” said Lewis.” I just have to build it back.”

He and his wife Linda managed to get the most important things out of their house, but many other items are now under water. Despite the flood damage, they still love their location near the river.

“I love it. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it,” said Lewis. “I’ve lost it twice, I’ll build it back this time, but I don’t know about the next time.”

Carter said his community is not yet thinking about recovery because of all the flooding.

“A lot of people have suffered a lot of anxiety,” Carter said. “Everybody’s just trying to hold his own and do the best we can.”

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