On Friday, September 14, 2018, Hurricane Florence – the “wettest storm to hit the Carolinas” – hit. Despite making landfall as a Category 1 storm – a downgrade from its original Category 5 projection – it quickly became clear that Hurricane Florence was going to be a monster storm.
Florence wrought widespread disaster with nearly 100 mile per hour winds, a 500 mile-wide storm path and ten foot storm surges. The large, slow-moving storm crawled across the Carolinas, dumping as much as 35-45 inches of rain – flooding roads and knocking out power.
“The rain was relentless,” remembers Brandon Chisholm, detective for the Wilmington Police Department. “The waters were rising rapidly and conditions were deteriorating fast.”
A call came in from a family trapped in their home by the rising flood waters. Together with his partner – Detective Melody Raper – Chisholm answered the call. Massive flooding made most routes impassable. A mile from the call site and unable to get any closer due to the rising floodwaters, Raper and Chisholm were met by the Cajun Navy.
“We told them where we needed to go and they took us there in their jon boat,” said Chisholm. “There was no power. Everything was black. It was quiet. There’s debris floating all over the place. We’re soaking wet. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“It was very tense,” said Raper. “The water was coming into the house and everybody was nervous. We didn’t know how we were going to get everybody on the one boat.”
Watch the story unfold.