Nearly one year after Hurricane Matthew devastated the small town of Windsor, the area has made significant repairs — but it still has a long way to go.
After flooding from Tropical Storm Julia, Hurricane Matthew hit Windsor 13 days later in October 2016. The Cashie River overflowed, which led to severe flooding that left many homes and some businesses beyond repair.
“It’s been a nightmare trying to separate what damage was done in each event,” Windsor Mayor James Hoggard said. “You couldn’t always do it really. We pretty much weathered the storm, and we’ve had a number of things happen really in the last couple months.”
Eleven months later, all but two businesses have returned, but many residents are still left without suitable housing.
Sandrika Freeman, a UNC first-year from Windsor, said she was without power for three days when the storm first hit — although some people lacked power for much longer.
“A couple businesses have moved around Windsor and have left Windsor due to flooding,” she said. “Most of the damage happened in downtown, and my hairdresser there got flooded out. She hasn’t returned.”
Billy Smithwick, Windsor fire chief during Hurricane Matthew, said the storm forced the town to use money it reserved for emergencies.
“We try to allocate a certain amount of money each year for disaster because we seem to go through these pretty regularly — particularly flooding,” he said.
Smithwick said the town no longer has that reserve of money, which would be problematic if another storm were to hit this year.