2018: A year of storms, snow and change

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This year was bookended by snowfall in January and December canceling school for Wilson students. But many will remember 2018 as the year they dodged a violent hurricane.

As Hurricane Florence marched across the Atlantic Ocean as a strong Category 4 storm, property owners battened down the hatches in expectation of a direct hit. When the cyclone came ashore at Wrightsville Beach Sept. 14, it had lost much of its punch. Coastal communities suffered relentless destruction. Elm City residents received the worst blow on Sept. 17 when a hurricane-related tornado touched down, causing severe damage to homes and trees. Wilson was spared the worst but the tobacco crop was badly damaged. In November, Mother Nature cooperated with sunny skies and pleasantly breezy days for a successful North Carolina Whirligig Festival in Wilson.

Wilson bid farewell to educator Sallie B. Howard, who died at age 101 on Sept. 25. She was the inspiration for the Sallie B. Howard School for the Arts and Education and the new Sallie B. Howard High School for the Arts and Science. Lucama residents launched a grassroots movement to speed up improvements to the town’s water system.