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Community Resilience-Focused Technical Investigation of the 2016 Lumberton, North Carolina Flood: Community Recovery One Year Later



Elaina Sutley, Maria Dillard, John W. van de Lindt


In early October 2016 Hurricane Matthew crossed North Carolina as a category 1 storm with some areas receiving 15-18 inches of rainfall on already saturated soil. The NIST-funded Center for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning (Center) teamed with researchers from NIST's Community Resilience, Disaster Failure Studies, and Applied Economics programs to conduct a quick response field study focused on the small city of Lumberton, NC and the flooding experienced from the Lumber River. Approximately one year later, the Center and NIST team returned to Lumberton to document and better understand Lumberton's recovery progress with an emphasis on housing, businesses, schools, community and state-level decisions, and the intersection of these sectors in community recovery. This type of investigation is critical for the study of community resilience as it will ultimately provide longitudinal recovery data and analyses to support guidance and recommendations on what is needed to enable communities the ability to recover more quickly and equitably, and more generally, what attributes make most communities more resilient to natural hazards. This second in a series of community resilience-focused field studies is presented herein as Wave 2 of the on-going Lumberton, North Carolina Flood of 2016 report series. Wave 2 had two major objectives: First, to document community interdependencies ; and secondly, to document the progress of Lumberton's recovery. Both of these objectives support data needs for understanding resilience and recovery. Wave 2 dealt primarily with the recovery process of the most heavily affected households and businesses through systematic surveys. Analysis revealed that even after 14 months, Lumberton is only in the early stages of recovery.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 1230-2
Report Number


community, resilience, buildings, infrastructure, disaster, failure, schools, social, economic


Sutley, E. , Dillard, M. and van, J. (2021), Community Resilience-Focused Technical Investigation of the 2016 Lumberton, North Carolina Flood: Community Recovery One Year Later, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed May 18, 2024)


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Created April 21, 2021