As North Carolina is beginning to feel the impacts of Hurricane Matthew, Governor Pat McCrory warns North Carolinians to be prepared for a prolonged event with significant rainfall and storm surge causing flooding both in southeastern North Carolina and further inland.
“I cannot stress enough how serious an issue this hurricane could be for North Carolina, not only in damaging structures, but also risking human life,” said Governor McCrory. “Beware that this will be a prolonged event that will not end tomorrow when Matthew moves away from North Carolina. We are particularly concerned about rivers cresting throughout the week causing severe and potentially life threatening flooding. We are prepared and ready for this turn of events. Be safe, be prepared and listen to your local officials now more than ever.”
The current storm track brings the center of Hurricane Matthew within 25 miles of the North Carolina coast around 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning. As of Saturday morning, between 5 and 15 inches of rainfall are expected east of I-95, with the higher rainfall totals expected in the southeastern part of the state. Between 4 and 7 inches of rain are anticipated across central North Carolina. Storm surge could begin by early afternoon today with surge totals expected to reach between 2 and 6 feet along the southeastern coast and nearby sounds.
Governor McCrory emphasized that he is particularly concerned about major inland flooding as rivers begin to crest early in the week. The governor said that some of the worst damage during Hurricane Floyd in 1999 came days after the storm when the rivers crested.
The Cape Fear River, near Burgaw and Chinquapin, is expected to crest Monday near 20 feet. The Tar River at Greenville will likely crest Sunday at almost 18 feet and the Neuse River in Kinston is expected to crest Monday at nearly 18 feet. Governor McCrory noted particular concern with the Cashie River near Windsor that is expected to crest as early as tomorrow with a peak of nearly 11 feet.
Currently, more than 43,000 power outages have been reported throughout North Carolina. Utilities have deployed more than 5,700 personnel to the state to help respond to power outages.
More than 50 emergency shelters have opened in eastern North Carolina and are currently housing more than 680 people. For those needing information including nearby shelter, housing, and other storm-related details, call 2-1-1.
In South Carolina, there have been reports of some residents receiving scam emails that could jeopardize their computer’s security or allow cyber-attacks. In light of these reports, Governor McCrory is warning North Carolinians to avoid clicking on any emails that contain links to information on power outages. That information can be found at ReadyNC.org.
“We are working with our Department of Information Technology and the State Bureau of Investigation to ensure the safety and security of North Carolina citizens online,” said Governor McCrory. “If anyone suspects a potential cybersecurity scam related to the storm, they are encouraged to notify the SBI at 1 (888) 624-7222.”
The governor emphasized that state emergency response officials are deployed and prepared to respond. The State Highway Patrol has placed all essential personnel on standby and is ready for deployment at a moment’s notice based on the storm’s track. Additional state troopers have been sent to Wilmington and Raleigh and additional troopers are on call across the state. The North Carolina National Guard has deployed more than 200 troops and 78 high water vehicles.
Swift Water Rescue teams have been deployed to Bladen, Craven, Martin, Brunswick, Pamlico, Camden and Pasquotank counties.
Additionally, three Helo-Aquatic Rescue Teams are staged in western North Carolina. Chainsaw crews are now in Jones, Camden, Pasquotank, and Moore counties and at regional coordination centers. North Carolina Wildlife boat teams have deployed to Williamston, New Bern and Elizabethtown. Generators, sandbags, cots, bottled water and tarps have been sent to eastern counties and generators sent to central counties.
Governor McCrory said Florida no longer needs the assistance of North Carolina’s mobile disaster hospital or medical evacuation buses. These resources are continuing to standby and are ready to respond as needed.
For more information about Hurricane Matthew and how to prepare, go to ReadyNC.org. You can also get real-time traffic and weather on the ReadyNC mobile app. Follow N.C. Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook for the latest on Hurricane Matthew.
For those needing Hurricane Matthew information, call 2-1-1. The statewide information line can provide callers with nearby shelter, housing, and other storm-related details.