Fair Bluff hit hard by second hurricane in two years

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People living in Fair Bluff say Florence resurfaces all the bad memories from Matthew. (Source: Kolby Skidmore | WECT)

By Nick Ochsner

FAIR BLUFF, NC (WBTV) — The only way to get through Main Street in Fair Bluff on Thursday was in a boat.

In a scene reminiscent of the weeks after Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, three to four feet of water flowed over benches and past door handles of buildings along the town’s main corridor.

Most people in the town still hadn’t recovered from Matthew when rain and water from Florence rushed over the banks of the Lumber River last week.

The river isn’t expected to crest until Monday, which means the water will still rise.

On Friday, a steady stream of onlookers drove past the barricades to drive up to the water, which created a beach just feet from the town hall and Methodist church.

One of those onlookers was Mayor Billy Hammond.

In an interview, Hammond said he didn’t know what the town’s future holds.

He said many of the residents hadn’t recovered from Matthew. Others, he said, had just rebuilt only to see their homes and businesses destroyed again.

State Representative Brendan Jones (R-Columbus) said the current floodwaters would wash away the little town.

“We have failed this town,” Jones said of state and local government.

Jones said he has been working for more than a week to coordinate supplies for people in Fair Bluff and elsewhere in Columbus County.

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