In Myrtle Beach, S.C., Barb Krumm, director of marketing and public relations at Ocean Lakes Family Campground could breathe a sigh of relief on Monday (Sept. 17) after Tropical Storm Florence passed through. She told WOODALLSCM.com that the park had escaped the brunt of the storm.
“There is a lot of debris in the park and a few trees that fell over, one just clipped the roof of a house here at the park,” she explained.
Across the state line into North Carolina, the impact of the storm — which at one time was a Category 4 hurricane before hitting the east coast at a lower Category 1 by the time it landed and then falling to Tropical Storm status — was much different.
Florence — which hovered over North Carolina for days after first coming ashore near Wilmington, N.C., in the early morning hours of Sept. 14 — dumped roughly 30 inches on towns throughout North Carolina, a record amount, according to CBS News.
At least 32 people have died in storm-related incidents CBS News has reported, 25 in North Carolina, 6 in South Carolina and one in Virginia.
Flood waters continue to surge even as Florence pushes away from North Carolina and begins to bring rain in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Maryland as it moves north, according to the New York Times.
“This remains a significant disaster that affects much of our state,” Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina said Monday. “The next few days will be long ones as the flooding continues.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has already begun to work with 18 counties that have been designated for federal relief funds.
Campground and RV park owners throughout the area have been working to access damage and reopen their parks. Mike Gast, vice president of communications for Billings, Mont.-based Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), told WOODALLSCM.COM that only four KOA parks remained closed as of Monday: the New Bern N.C. KOA Holiday, Lumberton/I-95 N.C. KOA Journey, Wilmington KOA Holiday and Cape Hatteras KOA Resort.
The Wilmington KOA Holiday is set to reopen on Oct. 1, while staff members were being allowed back into the Cape Hatteras KOA Resort on Monday and Gast said they expected that park to reopen soon.
“Usually, we have a few of our company owned properties involved in these events, since they are mostly located in the southeast U.S.,” he noted. “In this case, it was the Cape Hatteras KOA and potentially the Virginia Beach KOA. We evacuated Cape Hatteras employees and some campers to Virginia Beach KOA, which never had to close as the storm swung southwest.”
Officials at Chicago, Ill.-based Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) reported today (Sept. 18) that their “preliminary assessments” of ELS’ North Carolina coastal properties was completed.
“No injuries to our residents, guests or employees have been reported,” according to a press release.
ELS operates five coastal North Carolina properties that were within Hurricane Florence’s trajectory. The properties have been affected by flooding, wind, wind-blown debris and falling trees and branches, according to company officials.
ELS officials believe that the company has adequate insurance subject to deductibles, including business interruption coverage. ELS officials estimate the economic impact of the storm to be approximately $1 million.
“We do not believe that the storm will have a material impact on our financial condition or operating results,” stated the release.
Tessa Wiles, director of marketing at Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Northgate Resorts, told WOODALLSCM.com that their Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort Golden Valley in Bostic, N.C., did not suffer any damage due to Florence.
“There was just a ton of rain,” she explained.
Krumm noted that while their park may have escaped the brunt of the storm, park officials are expecting to see rising waters over the next few days as flooding from the North makes its way South.
Ocean Lakes was able to open on Sunday after receiving the go ahead from local utility companies.
“We are slowly starting to get everything back up and running,” Krumm continued. “All of the emergency planning that we did, like getting everything up and safe from potential water damage, all has to be undone at this point.”
This is after a week of constant activity for the park, according to Krumm, as they implemented the park’s emergency planning procedures and safely evacuated the campground that features 859 campsites and 2,566 houses or annually leased sites. She also noted that Ocean Lakes stores more than 2,600 RVs on site.
“We had a lot of people that have been calling and wanting updates on how all of their stuff is fairing,” Krumm said.
On Sept. 11, in the midst of preparing for Florence, Ocean Lakes also suffered a fire, according to Krumm, that destroyed one house and damaged a few others.