Recovery efforts continue six months after Hurricane Florence

Thursday marks six months since Hurricane Florence made landfall along our coast, bringing record breaking flooding and damage to many homes, businesses and communities across the east.

The storm is being remembered as the costliest disaster in state history, but the devastation was followed by kindness and resiliency.

From mucking out homes to serving more than one million meals, thousands of volunteers both in and out of state have stepped in to help.

Additionally, more than $1.2 billion has been provided federally to help North Carolinians get back on their feet.

That includes $128 million in Individual Assistance grants and $394.1 million in Small Business Administration disaster loans for more than 9,000 homeowners, renters and businesses.

Florence brought record breaking storm surge and flooding, prompting large-scale search and rescue efforts. More than 5,200 people were rescued and evacuated during the storm, with 15,000 people seeking emergency shelter.

The flooding worsened in the days to follow, as rivers overflowed their banks. Record-breaking flood levels were reached in Duplin County and Trenton, with the NE Cape Fear River cresting at 24.75 feet and the Trent River cresting at 29.25 feet.

The devastation caused more than 870 families to live out of hotels. Fortunately, almost all of them have moved on to longer-term housing options.

FEMA is still housing at least 650 families temporarily, with repair efforts still being completed on at least 3,000 area homes.

While significant progress has been made, there's still a long way to go.

Grants are still being poured into the area and some schools and businesses are just beginning to reopen.

Just last week, students at Pamlico County Middle School were able to return to their school building after it was heavily damaged by Florence. Flooding reached up to two feet in some parts of the building.

Other buildings, like the courthouse in Jones County, have had to delay their openings until the summer because damage sustained during the storm was so severe.

In total, 44 lives were claimed as a result of the storm.