Workers after Florence

Workers clear debris from the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center in October after Hurricane Florence last September. There will be a community gathering Tuesday at the museum to remember Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Dorian. (Dylan Ray photo)

A year after Hurricane Florence and more  than a week after Hurricane Dorian, those at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center on Harkers Island are remembering the impacts the storms had on the area with a community gathering.

“Remembering Florence” (and now Dorian) starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the museum with a community supper catered by Seaside Sensations.

The supper is considered a gift to the community, so there is no cost but reservations are needed so organizers know how much food to prepare.

During the community event, the goal is to gather stories of Hurricane Florence, the response and recovery process and document how the storm changed Down East communities.

Hurricane Florence hit the area in September 2018 as a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. However, the impact of the storm left lasting damage to many areas in the county.

The Core Sound Museum was hit hard. Rain blew in through the building’s roof, causing widespread damage.

The museum has been closed to the public since the storm, with plans to reopen in April.

During Tuesday’s event, there will be scribes recording personal stories and making lists of those who need to be interviewed in the weeks ahead.

Organizers are asking those who attend to bring pictures, videos, newspaper clippings and any artifacts from the storm.

All of this will become part of an exhibit, Harm’s Way, and its accompanying website that will launch next April.

Starting at 7 p.m. will be a community conversation to discuss all that transpired in the past year.

Tabbie Nance will be leading a panel discussion of community leaders to discuss many of these topics and open it up for attendees to tell their story, express concerns and report what worked and what didn’t.

Organizers are interested in the distribution of information before, during and after the storm, including the role of social media, the internet and local TV.

Other questions to be posed are:

•    Were we ready then? Are we more prepared now?  

•    Who were the leaders/resources we looked to for meeting community needs?

•    How did we react to Dorian less than a year after Florence?

Organizers are also seeking information on remaining needs.

The large community night gathering will be followed by smaller community meetings the week of Monday, Sept. 30, when local community leaders will gather to discuss information from Tuesday’s meeting.

There will also be a communitywide survey distributed online over the next several weeks that asks more detailed questions.

The project, including the community meeting, is in partnership with N.C. Sea Grant, N.C. News Lab, Duke University and N.C. Community Foundation and will all be archived and shared with the community through the expanded Harm’s Way exhibition and the museum’s digital archive, found online at harmswaystormstories.com.

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