North Carolinians watched anxiously as Hurricane Matthew formed, wreaked havoc in Haiti (over 400 dead) and then moved toward the United States. For a while, it appeared on some map forecasts that Matthew would turn sharply out to sea and drop some excessive rain on this state, but little more. But it did not make as sharp a right as hoped, and moved slowly off the coast, bringing damaging and deadly rain, 15 or 16 inches in some spots in Eastern North Carolina. Some surges were record-setting, and some towns were faced with devastating losses.
Some residents of the Triangle got calls from friends who lived along the coast, because the rain in this area was torrential, and, those coastal residents wondered, perhaps worse than some spots on the ocean’s edge. Indeed, even as a new week started in this area, many people were without power, and some roads remained blocked with downed trees. Matthew may have been downgraded in strength in the course of its march, but still it had severe consequences.
If the storm was a troubling inconvenience for many, it was a tragedy for others, and the death toll in North Carolina had not reached a final calculation two days after the storm passed. Two people had been killed in a submerged vehicle, another in an accident when a vehicle hydroplaned. Others were missing.
As is always the case, there were numerous stories of rescue, by emergency personnel and neighbors, and now begins the process of recovery. North Carolinians will, as they always do, help each other through the crises that await many in the storm’s aftermath.