Gov. Cooper tours Spring Lake homes damaged by Hurricane Florence

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— It’s been almost three months since hurricanes Florence and Michael caused severe damage to homes across the state. On Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper surveyed the damage to homes in Spring Lake.

Bob and Barbara Blakeney have lived in their home off Vass Road for 50 years, but the recent storms have chased them out.

“When it rains now, it floods about four inches or so,” said Barbara Blakeney.

“Matter of fact, I can’t even go to church half the time because I ain’t got no clothes. Everything is locked up somewhere,” Bob Blakeney said.

Cooper got an earful from the couple and other storm victims who are frustrated with not getting enough financial support in the form of grants to help get them back into their homes.

“I’m 80 years old and she’s 76, and this is like starting all over again,” Bob Blakeney said. “So, what we’re really hoping for is some kind of grant assistance or something that can help us out a little bit more.”

Cooper said he’s heard these heartbreaking stories from other storm victims across the state. That’s why he’s asked the federal government for more Hurricane Florence relief money.

Ag official meets with farmers, surveys damage in Duplin County

“We made a $6.3 billion ask,” he said. “A lot of that will provide funding for housing. We also want to do away with some of the barriers we have now that are slowing things down a bit.”

In the interim, the Blakeneys are staying with their son.

They said they had wished to be home by Christmas, but they know that will not be the case.

FEMA deadline for Florence is Dec. 13

Home and business owners are running out of time to register for federal help in fixing properties damaged this fall in Hurricane Florence.

The deadline to apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is Thursday, Dec. 13, at midnight.

Property owners can apply in person, at a Disaster Recovery Center, over the phone at 800-621-3362 or online at

There are 10 centers open in North Carolina, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in communities across the southeast quadrant of the state, from Fayetteville to Whiteville to Morehead City.

In North Carolina, Hurricane Florence:

  • Claimed 31 lives
  • Knocked out power to almost 2 million customers at the peak of the storm
  • Dumped about 10 trillion gallons of rain
  • Gusted winds at up to 112 miles per hour
  • Saw 15,000 people forced from their homes into shelters