Hurricane Isaias prompts ugly reminders of past Carolina storms; missionaries safe

Latter-day Saints in eastern North Carolina don’t have to be told the second anniversary of the unforgettably destructive Hurricane Florence is fast approaching.

Hurricane Isaias was all the reminder they needed — reaching landfall late Monday night, Aug. 3, and traveling north through the Tar Heel State, bringing with it flooding, strong winds and tornadoes.

Two people were killed when a tornado struck a mobile home park in Bertie County in northeastern North Carolina, according to The News & Observer.

The center of the storm roughly followed the Interstate 95 corridor. Forecasters expected Isaias, which was later downgraded to a tropical storm, to move through mid-Atlantic states and Northeast in the coming days.

All Latter-day Saint missionaries were safe and accounted for Tuesday.

“We moved them off the coast and had then sheltering indoors during the story,” said Elder Matthew S. Harding, an Area Seventy and Raleigh resident, in a text to the Church News.

For Church members, the impact of the storm was felt strongest in the Wilmington North Carolina Stake.

“Lot of debris to clean up,” reported Elder Harding. “Our assessment efforts are still underway.”

A number of Latter-day Saints were dealing with power outages on Tuesday. The Wilmington area had about 100,000 homes and businesses without power just before dawn Tuesday.

Internet and phone services were also limited in some areas.

“My only means of communication with the [Wilmington] stake president is through texting. He is doing well,” said Elder Harding.

Most of the initial damage, he added, appears to be wind-related. “All in all, it was a blessing that this storm was fast moving.”

About 2.6 inches fell at Raleigh-Durham International Airport since Monday evening, but the total topped 4 inches elsewhere in the county, according to the National Weather Service. Between 1 and 3.4 inches fell in Orange and Durham counties, according to The News & Observer.

An appropriate Latter-day Saint humanitarian response and volunteer clean-up needs were still being determined Tuesday.

It was almost two years ago Hurricane Florence inundated much of the Wilmington stake and other neighboring stakes. Many member families experienced significant flooding in their homes due to heavy rains and inundated waterways.

The disaster prompted a large-scale humanitarian response as members from across the region pulled on yellow Helping Hands vests and volunteered their time and muscle to the clean-up effort.

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