The year 2018 was a good year for the Philadelphia Eagles and the movie “Avengers: Infinity War,” but it was not a good year for many victims of the weather in Guilford County.
That point was driven home in a new report compiled by the Guilford County Emergency Services Department on weather disasters that hit the county last year. This week, Guilford County Emergency Management Division Director Don Campbell gave the report to the Guilford County commissioners.
It outlined the consequences of the four major storms that hit the county last year and it also brought county officials up to date on county services needed in the aftermaths. The four major events were the tornado that hit Greensboro on April 15, Hurricane Florence in September, Hurricane Michael in October and the winter storm that arrived on December 8 and left the county blanketed in ice and snow for days.
According to the report, the April tornado ripped a 16-mile path through the county, and the tornado and the accompanying storm damaged over 1,000 structures and left 20,000 Duke Energy customers without power at one point.
After that storm, the county’s Emergency Operations Center was open for seven days and the Guilford County Social Services Department processed 1,606 requests for replacement benefits from those who rely on food and nutrition services and lost food in the storm.
After that storm, there were 1,493 applications for aid in the form of Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] Individual Assistance Benefits, and FEMA distributed $1.3 million in direct benefits to disaster survivors and approved $1.2 million in low-interest loans as another form of aid.
With Hurricane Florence, according to the report, the Emergency Operations Center was open for eight days as major flooding occurred throughout Guilford County. The Socials Services Department processed 6,615 replacement benefits. So far, as a result of that storm, 449 people have applied for assistance from FEMA and about $390,000 has been distributed to victims in the county from that federal agency.
Hurricane Michael was just as unwelcome: Michael kept Guilford County’s Emergency Operations Center open for seven days and, at the height of the storm, 130,000 customers did not have power. At least 329 properties were damaged by Michael. There were only seven replacement benefits processed by Social Services due to the storm and Guilford County didn’t see enough damage to qualify for either state or federal aid.
The December 8 winter storm dropped 14 inches of snow on some parts of Guilford County and kept the Emergency Operations Center open for five days. In that storm, 9,500 customers were without power at one point and the National Guard was called on to provide some help to the county.