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Remembering Floyd ten years later

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Ten years later, the memories from Hurricane Floyd are fresh in the minds of those on Oak Island. Over a foot of rain was only half the battle, as storm surges as high as fifteen feet devastated the shores.

“Water, water, water… wettest hurricane I think I can ever remember. I don’t ever remember seeing so much water come at one time and just stayed here. It presented us with a few problems that we weren’t normally accustomed to,” said Mayor Vereen.

The high surf and raging waves were powerful enough to bring down two of the island’s piers. Tommy Thomes used to own the Long Beach Pier. “Watched the end of the pier fall, and about a third of the pier fall by 7:00 or 8:00 that night. Then the next morning we went back and the entire pier was gone,” Thomes said.

A decade later, Thomes now works at the Oak Island Pier. For him the future is clouded with the uncertainty of living on Mother Nature’s doorstep. “Oh, I look forward to it. It’s like everything else, it’s a challenge and it’s interesting. We just don’t want to see anybody get hurt, and if people are smart enough to leave when they should, then generally we can survive.”

Since Floyd, Oak Island has benefited from dune and beach renourishment as well as public works projects that hope to keep the island as safe as possible from future storms.

“God brings what god brings and so we have to put up with it. We’re visitors here and he isn’t,” Vereen said.

The Oak Island Pier is hopefully ready for any future storm. The pier underwent a $150,000 reinforcement this past spring.

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Ten years later, the memories from Hurricane Floyd are fresh in the minds of those on Oak Island. Over a foot of rain was only half the battle, as storm surges as high as fifteen feet devastated the shores.

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