Hurricanes

Matthew vs. Florence: A look at historical flooding in North Carolina

Posted March 13, 2019 2:30 p.m. EDT
Updated March 13, 2019 6:53 p.m. EDT

In September, Hurricane Florence dumped 8 trillion gallons of water across North Carolina. It happened just two years after Hurricane Matthew brought devastating rainfall to the same area.

Both Matthew and Florence brought record flooding to North Carolina’s rivers. During Matthew, the Lumber River in Lumberton crested at 28 feet, the highest it ever had. That record was shattered when Florence crested the river just two years later at 29 feet and covered parts of Interstate 95.

The Neuse River in Goldsboro also crested to record levels during Matthew, rising to 29.74 feet. Two years later, during Florence, it reached the third highest crest on record at 27.6 feet.


Claims from Florence

Select a county below to see losses from Hurricane Florence based on claims for residential property tracked by the N.C. Department of Insurance as of November 2018.

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In Wake County, residents filed 4,234 claims for a total of $21,979,855 in losses. That's about $5,191 per claim, or $20.89 per person based on the population of the county.

Source: NC DOI, NC OSMB
Graphic by Tyler Dukes

The Cape Fear River in Fayetteville also reached astonishing levels, topping out at the sixth highest crest on record during Matthew at 58.94 feet.​ Two years later, Florence helped it record the fifth highest crest on record, at 61.58 feet.

The rivers remained above flood stage for weeks after the storms passed.