“I felt helpless”: Florence evacuee stranded in Richmond anxious to return home

Local News

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A week after Hurricane Florence made landfall, the rain has stopped — but floodwaters continue to rise, leaving some evacuees stranded and unable to return home. 

Teresa Patterson left her home in Whiteville, North Carolina on Sept. 11, not expecting that more than a week later, she still wouldn’t be able to go back. 

“Storms over so people have already forgotten about the storm, but people are going to be suffering for months,” Patterson said. 

It’s still hard for Patterson to talk about the devastation that hit the place she calls home less than two weeks ago. The hardest part, Patterson says, was being away from her two children.

“I was keeping in touch with them probably hourly,” she said. 

Patterson tells 8News that seeing the devastation on social media and television was also difficult.

“I felt helpless because I almost felt like I should’ve stayed,” she said. “I should’ve been there during it just in case there was something else I could do that I couldn’t do here.”

Patterson’s apartment was spared by Florence’s fury, but a part of her town remains under water. She doesn’t expect schools to start back for weeks. But for Patterson, she’s overwhelmed with sadness. 

“I felt empty, like I wanted to do something to help,” said Patterson, who will try to venture back to Whiteville sometime this week. “But I didn’t know what to do.”

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