2017 Atlantic hurricane season begins as many still struggle to recover from Matthew
Posted June 1, 2017 6:28 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 2:05 p.m. EDT
Princeville, N.C. — In the world of weather, June 1 marks the meteorological start of summer as well as the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Forecasters say the 2017 hurricane season could be a busy one, with anywhere from 11 to 17 named storms. However, much of eastern North Carolina is still recovering from Hurricane Matthew last season.
Driving around Princeville, it seems as though the last hurricane season never ended because reminders of its aftermath are everywhere.
Multiple homes still bear the marks of the flooding that drove many from the community.
Hurricane Matthew caused $1.5 billion in damage across North Carolina. State officials said North Carolina has gotten more than $300 million in community development block grants from the federal government and another $750 million to help with home repairs and debris collection not covered by insurance, but more is needed.
"Most of this funding that has been allocated and appropriated won't hit the ground until maybe the beginning of August, the end of August," said Senator Erica Smith-Ingram.
For residents like Linda Worsley and her family, the timetable doesn't offer much hope with the start of a new hurricane season.
"My mother is 91. My father is 92 and all they're talking about is going back home and I don't know if they'll ever get back home," Worsley said.
Hurricane Matthew displaced Worsley, a 65 year resident of Princeville, along with dozens of other residents.
"Unfortunately, right now, I do not live in Princeville. I am on the outskirts of Princeville, living in a mobile unit, furnished by FEMA," she said.
Worsley joined state lawmakers and Congressman G.K. Butterfield on Thursday to call on the federal government to do more to help North Carolina.
“We are here now asking you all to try to do the best you can, and if you know of anybody that can help the citizens of Princeville, we’ll be glad because we are really ready to get back home and to get our lives back together again,” said Princeville resident Linda Worsley.
"It's been a slow process, 8 months. It's been a long time. One day is a long time for someone who has been displaced, not to mention 8 months," Butterfield said.
Butterfield said the full participation of the federal government will be needed to complete recovery statewide.
“I was hoping that this would not be a partisan issue. Democrats and Republicans must work together to bring the resources into North Carolina, to make our communities whole and to make our families whole and to get families back into their homes,” Butterfield said.
Butterfield said he hopes the 2018 federal budget will include more relief funds for North Carolina.