NC TOWN FLOODED BY HURRICANE STILL REELING FROM DAMAGE: Before the flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew, the population of this Columbus County town along the banks of the Lumber River was estimated at 900 to 950 people. After the flood, the number plummeted dramatically, and the town now counts about 600 residents. The flooding, which devastated much of Fair Bluff on the heels of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, significantly altered the landscape. As of late May, the rebuilding efforts had barely begun. Leonard said 111 residences were flooded out. Though he notes that "a lot" of federal and state grant money has been awarded, most of the property owners have not received the financial assistance to date. The town's water and sewer system was substantially impacted by the extensive flooding, Leonard said. One of the town's two wells remains out of commission. "We believe we were ground zero. We believe no municipality was hit harder than us," he said from Town Hall. "We think we were the most impacted community in the state."