Images and memories of Hurricane Floyd|Hurricane Floyd time capsules:
Memories from the people who were there

Published 6:19 pm Thursday, September 17, 2009

By Staff
• David Spivey, Washington Park: Spivey was a volunteer with the Beaufort County chapter of the American Red Cross. A retired state civil-defense worker, Spivey helped set up a disaster-relief distribution center in a former Wal-Mart building off Washington’s Carolina Avenue.
He said one of his most vivid memories is two-fold: the orderly way in which victims and volunteers handled the crisis and the generosity of churches, other groups and individuals who contributed to disaster relief.
“It really was quite successful,” he said of the distribution center. “I was mighty proud of how it worked, how well it went, how smooth. The controls were done very nicely and gently.”
The temporary center served hundreds of people, and the remaining supplies were later transported to a larger relief facility in Rocky Mount, he said.
• Don Davenport, Greene County manager: Davenport was Beaufort County manager for 19 years. He served the county in that capacity during Floyd and, later, worked as Hyde County manager during Hurricane Isabel.
“It was something we were not prepared for, but it was more than just Floyd,” Davenport said, noting that Hurricane Dennis, which preceded Floyd, was “the only storm in my memory that went out to sea and came back.”
Dennis brought flooding rains and tides to the Pamlico River area ahead of Floyd, he noted. Flooding rain was a problem between the triple strikes of Dennis I, Dennis II and Floyd, he said.
“When Floyd came, there was really nowhere for the water to go,” Davenport said.
After Floyd, the National Guard or Army Reserve brought in large trucks to take people to safety or transport them as floodwaters rose, Davenport recalled. Rising tides severed access to the U.S. Highway 17 bridge, he added.
“People in Chocowinity were cut off, couldn’t get anywhere,” he said.
Davenport said that, in his official capacity, he took an aerial tour of waterlogged sections of Pitt and Beaufort counties, and was astonished to see only the top of a tobacco warehouse jutting out of the water that rippled over parts of Greenville.
“It was amazing to me that in a flat land that water could back up that high,” he said.
• Phillip Williams, former chief meteorologist with WNCT-TV: In an interview for a previous story, Williams said he worked nonstop for seven days during the crisis. He said he lost power and water at his own home, and struggled to get ice and water while maintaining appearances on the air.
“There was a great outpouring of support from the community,” he said, adding that people brought food and toiletries to the station for the staff to use.
“I think that disaster brought people closer together,” Williams said.
— Jonathan Clayborne