Published: 2011-08-28 14:37:00
Updated: 2011-08-29 00:05:28
Posted August 28, 2011 2:37 p.m. EDT
Updated August 29, 2011 12:05 a.m. EDT
New Bern, N.C. — Clean-up was the emphasis Sunday afternoon west of the Pamlico Sound after Hurricane Irene hit with a storm surge of up to 7 feet.
Boats and private docks along the Neuse River in New Bern were ripped away. The river receded on Sunday, but dirt, debris and water damage were left behind. Massive trees fell all over town, damaging more than 150 homes and destroying at least five.
At the Hilton on Middle Street, employees were cleaning up flood waters from the first floor Sunday afternoon. Several neighborhoods also dealt with flooding problems, including how to escape the rising waters.
"We knew we needed to get on that boat, and there was a neighbor of mine who happens to be a Craven County deputy. He had a boat, and he came and evacuated several of the families from our neighborhood. We were one of the last to go," said Shannon Nelson.
Nelson, her mother and 6-year-old daughter went back home Sunday to assess the damage. They found an inch of water inside the house.
"It was very scary," Nelson said. "To see something like that happen to your home, it's hurtful."
Patty Duke rode out the storm at home, despite rising water that crept under her door.
"I have never heard wind blow like that, never in my life," she said. "I just thank God for me and my children still being here."
East of New Bern, in the town of Havelock, residents also felt the impact. Downed power lines and trees were the biggest problem.
"I have been through, in the last 40 years, many, many hurricanes. This is probably as bad as we've seen," said Linda Rawls, whose family spent Sunday raking debris. "It got to the foundation of our house."
Atlas Henrys was cleaning up storm damage at his home in Aurora and at the family business, Carolina Seafood Company. The six feet of water that rushed over the pier crumbled walls and moved concrete blocks at the processor on Muddy Creek Road.
About 60 people who usually make their living at the company on the gifts of the river will be out of work Monday.
"It's just bad," said employee Janet Diffenderfer. "It doesn't even look like the same place."