Hurricanes move homeowner's holidays from Lumberton to Rocky Mount

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— Lumberton homeowner Susan Hayes would have set up her Christmas tree beside her fireplace this year. But her home was destroyed by Hurricanes Florence and Matthew, so her tree will be set up two hours away in Rocky Mount.

Two years ago, Hurricane Matthew brought 8 inches of water into her home on Tartan Road and chased Hayes to higher ground.

Two months ago, Hurricane Florence dumped 18 inches of water inside her home. There was about 4 feet of water in the garage.

After Hurricane Matthew, Hayes decided to rebuild.

“It was a 500-year flood,” she said. “I mean, I figured I’d be dead by 500 years before the next one came.”

“I never dreamed I had to go through anything close to this again,” she continued.

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She and her husband had installed new kitchen cabinets, electrical fixtures and appliances.

She has applied for a FEMA grant that would buy her out of the home.

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“It can’t be rebuilt,” she said. “I mean, nobody’s going to live here like it is now because in two years, it might flood again.”

This year has been difficult for Hayes. Her husband died in February, and then Hurricane Florence ruined her house, making it impossible for her to enjoy the holiday season at home.

She plans to spend the holidays with her daughter in Rocky Mount. She said she’s thankful she survived both storms and has family nearby.