Hurricane Matthew: One Year Later – Business Rebuild

NOTE: This is part three of a series looking back on Hurricane Matthew’s impact on the region. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — One year ago Hurricane Matthew took an unexpected turn, dumping rain on Hampton roads and the Outer Banks. All this week, we’re taking a look back at the impact it left

Track of 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season

on our area.

Millions watched the storm pound Hampton Roads and Northeast North Carolina in October 2016.

The dangerous downpour saturated areas already trying to dry out from two previous storms – Hurricane Hermine and Tropical Storm Julia.

When the rain from Hurricane Matthew stopped, the water stayed for days inside homes and businesses.

“Lost everything,” Suffolk convenience store owner Pritesh Patel told 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings.

Pictures from inside his store on Main Street show the height of the water inside. Nearly everything including the gas pumps were destroyed.

“I lost whole inventory,” Patel said. He’s owned the store five years.

Because of the extent of the damage, Patel applied for and was granted a $307,000 dollar loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

The office of Portsmouth marketing agency RocketBike, LLC was also damaged.

“Looking at my phone, through the office computer and watching the water and papers and things floating by,” said Max Greenhood, president of the agency. “It was pretty surreal to be so far away and helpless to what was actually here, but being able to see it all in real-time.”

10 On Your Side worked for weeks to get statistics showing how much money the agency granted businesses in our area after Hurricane Matthew. Businesses were granted a total loan amount of more than $2 million.

Read: DCMS Disaster Loan Statistics

“We sort of knew it was coming but didn’t expect it was going to be as bad as it was,” Greenhood said.

He and his wife were out of town when water filled their office.

“I remoted into my computer from my phone and was looking through the computer’s camera to see like water going by in the office,” Greenhood recalled.

They had to replace $25,000 worth of fixtures and equipment. An SBA loan has helped. Flooding during Matthew isn’t the first time water has impacted RocketBike. We found video in the WAVY archive from September 2014.

“We moved in two weeks ago it’s a nice house warming gift from Mother Nature,” Greenhood said.

Two weeks after they moved into the first location, flash flooding sent water in. Last year during Hurricane Matthew more water damage at the same office. The company has now relocated a few doors down.

“Luckily we’re a little bit higher up and don’t have as much of the flooding issues as the other property,” Greenhood said.

Flood losses not covered without specific flood insurance

Remnants of Matthew remain inside the Suffolk store.

“Four and a half feet. So all this under water,” Patel said.

Patel has lifted the registers hoping to protect them if there’s ever another flood but there’s still more work to be done. He’s restocking shelves slowly.

Patel explained he’ll be glued to the TV from now on especially during hurricane season which doesn’t end for another two months. But when a storm develops he said he’ll be nervous.