Hurricane Florence 5 years later in Kinston

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 10:06 AM EDT
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KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - Employees reflected on the anniversary of Hurricane Florence at the Neuseway Nature Center in Kinston Thursday.

They say they the storm on September 14, 2018, wreaked havoc on many parts of the city but are thankful they were able to prepare ahead of time.

Florence made landfall as a category 1 hurricane, weakening from a category 4 hurricane just four days prior.

Assistant Director Ronald Albertson says Hurricane Florence damaged many parts of the building.

“Got 18 inches of water up under the top floor, so it really flooded the downstairs cage which we had already evacuated that, we took all the animals out. We have a department in Kinston that we take them to and all the animals there. The ones that we knew we could release and recapture, some of the other ones, we did that” says Albertson.

Helen Angone and her husband who were visiting the center from Emerald Isle on Thursday say the severe conditions of Hurricane Florence almost destroyed their home.

“I stayed there for 3 days at almost 100 mile an hour winds and I think we had 23 inches of rain, and it just pounded the water into every little crack and crevice of the house that could possibly be” says Angone.

Many are still picking up the pieces Florence left behind and those who experienced the storm will likely remember it forever.

Officials say the hurricane was able to produce a record-breaking storm surge of 9 to 13 feet along the coast.

“After the water started to recede out on the playgrounds and all that is a lot of fish were trapped and a lot of them were dying so we had to go out and take a lot of the fish out, the dead ones out, we had to bag them up, we took out the live ones and put them back into the river,” said Albertson

Albertson says aside from the small number of fish, none of the other animals at the nature center were injured.