Despite levee, floodwaters invade Princeville
Posted October 12, 2016
Updated October 13, 2016
Princeville, N.C. — Hurricane Floyd nearly washed the town of Princeville off the map in 1999, and this time the town was ready, but it was not enough.
Hurricane Matthew was the first true test of the levee between Princeville and Tarboro. The levee was improved after Hurricane Floyd, but as the Tar River continued to rise, the levee was not able to hold back the flood waters.
On Wednesday, widespread flooding surrounded homes, cars and businesses.
"We were hoping that we'd had our turn for the next hundred years or so," said County Manager Eric Evans, referring to Hurricane Floyd.
For now, Matthew's floods are bad, but not a repeat.
"Floyd will be much more devastating hopefully," said Princeville Mayor Bobby Jones. "I was in Floyd as well. I was taken out on a helicopter because I was hard headed, not listening to evacuation orders, but fortunately all the residents of Princeville heeded the call to evacuate."
Hundreds of people who cleared out of town found shelter at Tarboro High School.
Latesha McKinney spent the last five days at the shelter with her six children.
"It's been hard because I want to go home," she said. "Not having my kids clothes, not being able to take a good bath, you know, you want to take a good bath."
As the Tar River continues its takeover, east Tarboro is also being swallowed up by high water.
"Here we go again, and some people, especially those in the flooding down there, say they won't move back," Luther Knight of Tarboro said.
That will be a decision for many in Princeville as the community takes on yet another hundred year flood.