NASA image of Hurricane Matthew
Smithfield Foods said that in North Carolina, Hurricane Matthew “brought flood levels unseen in nearly 500 years...” (photo: NASA)

SMITHFIELD, Va. – Smithfield Foods weathered the storm that was Hurricane Matthew. On Oct. 19, the company announced all of its pork processing facilities have returned to normal operations.

“The effects of this storm were severe, and I could not be more proud of our North Carolina employees and their response in the face of adversity,” Kenneth Sullivan, president and CEO, said in a statement. “I am thankful to be a part of the Smithfield family, and proud that we are able to provide support to the entire area as they begin to pick up the pieces.”

Hurricane Matthew brought historic flooding in North Carolina. Floodwaters did reach lagoons on three contract swine farms, Smithfield said, but there have been no reports of lagoon breaches or failures on company owned farms or contract farms. Smithfield operates six pork processing plants in North Carolina, with its largest facility in Tar Heel, which produces fresh pork and case-ready fresh pork.

The company also expressed gratitude to the more than 10,000 employees across North Carolina impacted by the hurricane. “We’ve provided warm meals, transportation, and activated our Employee Assistance Program to assist employees,” the company said. “Smithfield’s EAP provides support to employees and their families during challenging times and includes services such as counseling sessions, legal consultations, family and caregiver assistance as well as other resources.”

Hurricane Matthew caused devastation from the Caribbean to the United States, where it hammered the southeastern US as it moved toward the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, according to The Weather Channel. Matthew made landfall on Oct. 8 in South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds, although wind gust reports ranged from a high of 107 mph to a low of 60 mph. The following storm surge resulted in dangerous floods in some areas of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Smithfield noted that Hurricane Matthew “brought flood levels unseen in nearly 500 years, unmatched transportation challenges including a 10-day closure of both Interstate 95 and Interstate 40, and widespread devastation to communities across the eastern half of the state.”

Hurricane Matthew moved away from the US coast on Oct. 9, according to The Weather Channel.