Residents of flood-prone Seven Springs forced to evacuate

Posted October 11, 2016 7:24 p.m. EDT

— After Hurricane Floyd flooded Seven Springs in 1999, about half of the residents left and never came back. The town was in the process of rebuilding when Matthew prompted severe flooding.

Ronda Hughes said she and her neighbors helplessly watched as the water levels started to rise over the weekend.

"We were here about an hour and we watched a 10-foot section of ground get covered, so we knew it was coming up pretty quick then," she said.

Family, friends and strangers helped Hughes, who owns the local general store, grab her belongings and get out.

"It's very hard to watch because not only might we lose our business, we might lose our home too," Hughes said.

Mayor Stephen Potter said he grabbed his cats and photo albums before he left his home.

"Before Floyd came we were a thriving little community," he said.

Potter's 100-year-old family home was destroyed by Floyd's flooding, but he was able to rebuild it on a higher foundation.

"Now, they are saying about six inches above Floyd, and if that's the case, it will put it in my house," he said.

It is the uncertainty that is leaving the town on edge.

"For us, the effects of 1999 were being felt even today, and I fear that this is going to make it even worse. It's going to be much harder to come back from this," Potter said.

"I'm hoping we don't lose our town. I love this town," Hughes said.

The National Guard was sent in to help residents get out of their homes. The town had a voluntary evacuation, but some people chose to stay. Now, officials say the town is not safe.