Hunkered down with her two children in a North Carolina hotel room, former Calgarian April McCreary is anxious to get home and check on her house and start helping those impacted by what’s left of Hurricane Florence.
The massive storm, which was downgraded to a tropical storm, made landfall Friday morning leaving behind a path of destruction — knocking out power, ripping apart buildings and flooding communities.
McCreary and her children, who call the coastal town of Cape Carteret home, evacuated and headed inland to Raleigh to weather the storm. Her parents and sister stayed behind.
“All of Carteret County is without power,” McCreary told Global News over the phone Friday. “My sister’s [house] is completely under water. They’re doing deep water rescues for her neighbourhood. They’re going by boats to get people out.”
McCreary said a neighbour sent her a photo of her house, which had a 10-foot tree fall on it, tearing shingles from the roof and ruining her fence.
“I have not been so afraid of what my house is going to look like until now,” she said.
“I packed my house when I was getting ready to evacuate… thinking that I was not going to come back to anything or that my house would be damaged when I get back, but it hasn’t really hit me until now when I’m looking at all the destruction to my neighbourhood.”
McCreary said packing up to leave wasn’t an easy decision, but it came down to safety for her family.
“Up until the very last second I was going to stay, until I looked at my kids and they were both saying, ‘Oh the hurricane is coming, there’s going to be flooding,’ and I knew I couldn’t stay and have the potential of needing to be rescued with my kids right there,” she said.
In nearby Morehead City, where her parents have boarded up their brick home, McCreary said her mother told her a tornado ripped through, tearing shingles from her parents’ roof and uprooting trees.
McCreary was born and raised in Calgary before moving to North Carolina at age 11. She moved back to Calgary at age 18 to attend university but moved back down to the States with her children to be closer to family.
She said she expects they’ll be at their hotel until Monday or Tuesday of next week as roads are still flooded and closed.
Officials said Friday afternoon that the tropical storm had weakened, but was still bringing heavy rain and winds of about 120 km/h.
The storm about 600 kilometres wide.
A woman and her infant child in North Carolina were the first confirmed deaths as a result of the storm.
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