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Compared To Floyd, Isabel Goes Easy On Princeville

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PRINCEVILLE, N.C. — When the people of Princeville hear the word hurricane, they pay attention.

Four years ago, Floyd flooded the town, leaving it underwater for 10 days. Compared to that, Isabel was kind Thursday, when the worst of the hurricane blew through town.

At one point, an inch of rain an hour fell on Princeville. The water collected in streets and yards.

More than a foot of water surrounded the home of Eugene Jones' grandmother. But Jones was not worried.

"No," he said. "I think this will come and go, just blow through, and we'll be safe."

Jones was not the only to think that way.

"Not yet," said Milton Johnson, when asked if he was afraid of the storm, "because it has not begun to happen. I just went and checked the water, and it is not out of the banks yet, so I am not afraid."

The Tar River lurked just a few hundred yards away. The river was raging, but it was not flooding. So for Princeville, a driving rain, and a few flooded streets, was relatively good.

It could have been a lot worse -- and it has been. Four years ago during Floyd, water lapped at the second-story windows of at least one house.

Floyd dumped 20 inches of rain into the Tar River. The river overflowed its banks and burst through the dyke that was supposed to protect Princeville.

"I lost almost everything in the flood," Johnson said.

Since then, the town built a bigger, stronger barrier. And the people who live here were relieved that Isabel did not put it to the test.


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