Skip navigation links

FEMA Coastal Testimonial
Hatteras Island, North Carolina

Hurricane Irene was the first of the 2011 season, making U.S. landfall along coastal North Carolina.

Bertie Midgett

My name is Bertie Midgett, I live on Hatteras Island, North Carolina. I lost my home to Hurricane Irene and I'm in the process of rebuilding.

I have never seen anything like Hurricane Irene. We knew we that would have some sound side flooding but we weren't prepared, I don't think, for the magnitude of the water that actually came up. We knew that we were going to eventually have some floodwaters. The last time I checked before it got dark, it was probably about four feet in the back of my house and I thought we would be safe. Then about 10:00 or 10:30, my husband got up and took the flashlight because we had been without electricity all day and when he looked, the water was coming up in our air conditioning vents. So we began to, you know, get into action at that point and try to run through the house and get as much up off the floor as we could to try to save as much as we could. Whatever I could reach, I would just get and throw high up on the couches, tables, chairs, whatever I could find.

The first thing that I remember coming back into the house, it was so hot and humid. We opened up all the windows and there was no breeze, there was no relief from the heat. Things were all over the floor, little knick-knack odds and ends had floated and moved around and things like that. The carpet and the walls had automatically started getting mold on them. My carpet had started turning black from the water coming in and all the dirt and all that comes with it. The stench, it really stunk.

I think the lowest part of the whole thing was when I was told that my home was not reparable. That was really when it hit me, the magnitude of what had happened.

If I had not had flood insurance, we would be homeless. The annual premium was $380 maybe. I believe that my total policy was $150,000 and we totaled that out. I cannot tell you how happy I am and it’s like there is a light at the end of the tunnel now and it’s brighter than it has ever been in the last nine months. It’s a very exciting thing to know I’ve been blessed with a new home.

As a result of Hurricane Irene, the National Flood insurance Program paid more than 42,000 claims totaling more than 1.3 billion dollars. Visit FloodSmart.gov/coastal to learn more about protecting your home.

Print this page  Return to A Storm, a hurricane an expert's first hand encounter