Like many of his neighbors, Elmer McDonald was eager to get back to his home to see what was left after Hurricane Matthew.

The 36-year-old father of four had tried for days to return to his trailer in Lumberton, North Carolina. But each day, the current was too strong, the floodwaters too deep. He finally got inside Thursday to find that the trailer was mostly dry.

Every home on the street was encircled by brown water.

Many people throughout the flood zone do not have flood insurance. And for those who live mostly paycheck-to-paycheck, the aftermath of a storm can grind on for weeks and be financially devastating.

But for now, McDonald is celebrating. He used to complain that the trailer was small. Now, he says, he'll never complain again.