With the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season under way, there is plenty of rebuilding still to do in North Carolina from past hurricanes and volunteers will be needed for major storms that might hit this year.
Researchers predict an active hurricane season in the Atlantic this year, with up to 18 named storms by the time the season ends on Nov. 30. Of those, two or three could become major hurricanes — Category 3 or higher — according to forecasters at N.C. State University.
The last hurricane to hit North Carolina was Isaias on Aug. 3, 2020. It made landfall at Ocean Isle Beach with winds near 86 mph and was blamed for four deaths in North Carolina, including two in Bertie County where a tornado formed as a result of the downgraded storm and struck a mobile home community.
If you have skills to offer others after a hurricane hits, it’s important to get vetted and trained by an agency that manages disaster relief and can put your energy to good use where and where it’s most needed.
▪ The United Methodist Committee on Relief collects supplies needed to help clean up after flooding from a hurricane and other disaster-relief items. Donations of supplies are always needed and help packing cleanup kits is welcome at the MERCI Center between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the first Saturday and third Thursday of each month, year-round. The center is at 676 Community Drive, Goldsboro, and volunteers are asked to bring supplies to donate when they come. UMCOR also accepts donations for the purchase of supplies through its website.
▪ NC Baptists on Mission are still seeking volunteers and donations for rebuilding efforts in four communities hit by Hurricane Florence in 2018. The storm, one of the worst in North Carolina history, damaged about 100,000 homes, some of which remain unlivable. Advance training is not required, and volunteers pay $10 per day to cover the cost of lodging, meals and insurance. Registration and donation information is available on the website.
▪ The Salvation Army, which launched its first disaster-relief effort in the devastation of the Galveston hurricane of 1900, is recruiting volunteers to help operate its mobile feeding unit, which travels to storm-hit areas to provide meals for families unable to cook. Information about volunteering is available on the website.
▪ Samaritan’s Purse, based in Boone, still has volunteers working in Windsor, where a tornado spawned by Hurricane Isaias damaged homes in August 2020, and in Whiteville and Lumberton, where homes were flooded by Hurricane Florence in 2018. Volunteers are asked to assemble work groups and apply for time slots on the organization’s website.
▪ North Carolina Catholics Volunteer continue to work on home in Eastern North Carolina damaged by previous hurricanes. and is recruiting workers for trips to Tarboro in June, July and August, and to the Cape Fear region in June, September, October, November and December.