'It wasn't supposed to happen again': Residents debate rebuilding after Hurricane Matthew

Posted October 16, 2016

— Water on Sunday was still surrounding homes in Seven Springs, a town that lost nearly half of its residents following Hurricane Floyd.

Before Hurricane Floyd hit in 1999, the town of Seven Springs had a population just shy of 200 people, but only 110 returned after the flood. At the start of 2016, the town had 84 people, but with Hurricane Matthew’s impact, many are wondering whether they should return or leave for good.

“You don’t expect to see your house mirrored in a pool of water, that’s for sure,” said resident Ivey Outlaw.

For the second time in 20 years, Outlaw is unable to reach his home. During Hurricane Floyd, water destroyed his belongings, but he chose to rebuild.

‘The house sits off the ground at least this high. For Floyd, it was about two feet. I’m guessing that this is at least three or more,” he said.

Since the neighborhood is at the heart of the Neuse River Basin, it’s not easy for people and businesses along Main Street to pick up and start over again.

“The woods are just behind our house and the Neuse River is just behind that, so we are just less than 150 yards away,” Outlaw said. “It was supposed to be a 500 year event. It wasn’t supposed to happen again in our lifetime.”

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  • Kelly Birdsall Oct 16, 2016
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    This means nothing to most people but for me it's heart breaking!!! This is the oldest town in Wayne county. It's like stepping back in time. It's quaint & charming & I remember it all my life. My grandparents lived just out of the town until I was 21. I don't want to see history washed away, literally!!! I feel awful for these people. I know they must struggle with the right decision. I wish them all the best!