Skip to main content

North Carolina Textile Firms, Cotton Fields in Recovery Mode

As areas of North Carolina continued to deal with flooding and damage in the wake of Hurricane Florence, reports have started to come in on some textile facilities impacted by the storm.

Hurricane Florence was a storm of unprecedented proportions for rainwater, storm surges, and cresting waterways,” National Spinning posted on its web site. “Unfortunately, National Spinning’s Whiteville, N.C., plant was severely affected by this storm, along with many other communities in North and South Carolina. Whiteville received 26 inches of rainfall and sustained high tropical storm winds during this hurricane. Severe flooding and widespread power outages occurred in the area, with residual after-effects.

National Spinning said many of its associates and its yarn spinning plant were without power for four to six days. Eleven employees had to be relocated by FEMA and another 15 to 20 sustained extensive property damage, the company said.

The firm said as of Sunday, 15 percent of the Whiteville workforce still could not return to work as a result of roadways or personal situations. The company’s corporate offices in Washington, N.C., were closed for two days during the storm, but didn’t receive any notable damage. The company has set up a Go Fund Me campaign to help these employees.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for circular knitter Contempora Fabrics in Lumberton, N.C., said, “We were closed for a week without power and phones. Our location was OK, we only had flooding in our parking lots. Other than being behind schedule on orders, we are OK.”

Related Stories

Assessments of damage to cotton fields in the region, which represents about 6 percent of U.S. acreage, were still coming in. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in its report on Sept. 21 that the areas most affected include the Pee Dee region of South Carolina northward to the central Coastal Plains region of North Carolina.

“Some areas experienced accumulated rainfall totals measuring up to 36 inches during the week before the storm blew north,” USDAS said. “Hurricane-force winds battered plants laden with bolls and cotton had strung out in some fields that received heavy rainfall. Damage assessments were underway. Estimates on crop losses were not immediately available, but catastrophic losses were anticipated in areas directly in the path of the storm. The sun was shining by early week, but fields remained saturated with low-lying areas flooded.”

Most reports from the region said on top of flooding to specific areas, widespread power outages and roadway damage were the biggest obstacles. Gov. Roy Cooper said Sunday that while more roads have reopened allowing some people to return to their communities, travel remains treacherous in portions of southeastern North Carolina.

“Florence continues to bring misery to North Carolina. Overnight and into Sunday morning, crews were still rescuing people who had driven into floodwaters or needed assistance,” Cooper said.