Two months later: New Bern continues to recover from Florence

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— Two months have passed since Hurricane Florence smashed the historic city of New Bern with a storm surge unlike anything it’s seen in more than 60 years.

Flooding from the Neuse River wiped out homes, swept through resort-style hotels and forced the evacuation of a local television station.

In the Woodrow neighborhood, lying low along the wide Neuse River, home for some is a travel trailer, courtesy of FEMA.

Over on Oakland Avenue, Timmy Jarman still has his house of 45 years, even though the lights are powered by a generator.

“Still got to finish the inside of the house before they’ll turn the power back on,” he said.

Jarman said more than a foot of water got into his home. A Samaritans Purse team stripped his floor to the plywood and tore out his sheetrock.

He said he plans to sell some grandfather clocks he found on the side of the road to help pay for the home repairs.

“I’m gonna sell it and use the money to fix the house with,” he said.

For his brother, Buddy Jarman, home had been his Dodge pickup truck.

“I had been in the back and put a camouflage screen on the back to keep the mosquitos out of there,” Buddy Jarman said.

He’s back in his house now, but the $2,000 from FEMA dried up fast.

“I had to get a generator, buy gas every day, food and stuff like that, so that $2,000 doesn’t go far,” he said.

Florence also flooded out a building that houses the local ABC affiliate, WCTI-TV. Its newsroom and news set will remain in trailers until at least February.

Mayor pro tem Sabrina Bengal said the town is in “recovery mode.” She also commends the efforts of the federal and state governments and help from non-profits.

“We’re asking everybody to come back in a year and look at us and see how we’ve bounced back,” she said. “We don’t want people to see the worst of what’s happened here.”

A popular riverfront hotel, the DoubleTree, also remains closed because of flood damage. It’s expected to re-open by March 1.