Three people died in Cumberland County during Hurricane Matthew which struck Fayetteville on Saturday, Oct. 8. Throughout the day, 14 inches of rain fell, followed by another eight inches Sunday, Oct. 9. The previous weekend, an eight-inch rainfall had already inundated Greater Fayetteville.
The damage it caused was catastrophic. Six hundred homes in King’s Grant on Fayetteville’s north side were cut off from the rest of Fayetteville when a utility culvert beneath Shawcroft Road blew out causing the roadway itself to collapse. It’s the only city street providing King’s Grant residents ingress and egress to the subdivision. Fayetteville Engineering and Infrastructure Director Rob Stone estimates it will take six months to make repairs. Meanwhile a temporary access road has been created by extending Cottage Way to Shawcroft. It crosses private property owned by Cedar Falls Baptist Church and the Kings Grant Home Owners Association.
The Cedar Falls Church parking lot became a marshaling area for the Red Cross and North Carolina Baptist Men disaster relief organizations. The Red Cross at one time had 400 volunteers working in Fayetteville from across the state and as far away as New York.
Rayconda is another community hard hit by Matthew. The earthen dam beneath Siple Avenue partially collapsed and more than 200 homes were cut off from Raeford Road. A contractor hired by the City of Fayetteville and city crews repaired the roadway and reopened it for emergencies only on Oct. 20. Full-size fire engines and ambulances now have access to Rayconda. Siple Avenue is expected to be opened to all traffic by Oct. 28, which is two weeks ahead of the original schedule.
The Mirror Lake Drive dam in Van Story Hills washed out, again. The first time was when Hurricane Fran washed it out in 1996. In Aaran Lakes, the dam at Greenoch Drive was blown out as was a dam on Sykes Pond Road.
Across the county, 40 homes were destroyed. In all, 900 structures were damaged, said Cumberland County Manager Amy Cannon. Initial estimates include residential property losses totaled $30 million. Other areas of significant damage included Veterans State Park on Bragg Boulevard. Underground electric pumps were destroyed. Recreation and Parks Director Michael Gibson reported three feet of water in the building. The basement of the headquarters library downtown was flooded. One building on the Public Works campus off Wilmington Road had 12 inches of water in it at one point, according to PWC General Manager David Trego. Three city owned buildings on Alexander Street were damaged by high water. They housed traffic services and engineering departments. Forty thousand homes on the PWC system were without power during the height of the hurricane. Efforts to restore power were completed by late Tuesday, Oct 11.
Associate School Superintendent Tim Kinlaw said 38 of the county’s 86 schools suffered temporary power outages, but none had significant damage. Eight county vehicles including sheriff’s patrol cars were damaged in the storm. Seventy-one city vehicles were damaged, 20 of them seriously. Twenty PWC vehicles were damaged.