Governor McCrory Warns of Dangerous Flooding in the Wake of Hurricane Flooding

Raleigh, N.C.

Governor Pat McCrory is warning citizens that the impact of Hurricane Matthew will continue to persist as record flooding is expected to impact inland communities in the coming days. The governor said that rivers in the eastern portion of the state have not crested yet and might not for several days.
 
“Hurricane Matthew may be off the map, but it is still with us,”
 said Governor McCrory. “The aftermath of this storm is extremely dangerous, as many inland areas are expecting record flooding in the coming days. Local officials are beginning to impose evacuation orders and people must take them seriously. Our National Guard troops, State Highway Patrol and swift water rescue teams are performing rescues around the clock. Please be smart, stay off flooded roads and be safe.”

 
Today, Governor McCrory requested an expedited major disaster declaration that will provide additional and immediate federal assistance to the state. If approved, this will provide grants to assist people without proper insurance and help state and local government officials repair bridges and roads and clean up storm debris. The governor thanked federal partners for their assistance and communications throughout Hurricane Matthew.
 
The governor urged extreme caution for people living in eastern portions of the state who are currently being impacted by rising waters in river basins affecting Kinston, Greenville and Goldsboro in the aftermath of the storm.

Additionally, sound-side storm surges of 3 to 6 feet are expected in the Outer Banks, Pamlico Sound and Albemarle Sound. Governor McCrory reported that Bob Woodard, Chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, said that Hatteras has been hit especially hard, with 60 percent of homes there flooded.

To date, there have been at least nine storm-related fatalities in North Carolina related to vehicles attempting to pass flooded roads. Yesterday, one fatality was reported in Sampson County caused by a vehicle that hydroplaned and two in Bladen County due to a submerged vehicle. Today, one fatality in Pitt, Sampson, Wilson and Rowan counties each and two in Johnston County were reported. Another death was reported at a shelter in Wayne County due to a health-related issue.  

Dam safety has been an increasing concern, particularly with dams that have breached at Rhodes Lake Dam in Cumberland County and a levee break at Luther Park in Robeson County, where a dam safety team has been deployed to assess the impact. In Wilson, a break at Silver Lake dam is sending a large amount of water in Lake Wilson, where a dam safety team is checking on the status of Lake Wilson. 

Already there have been more than 1,000 rescues using 58 boat crews and 334 rescue techs. There were 700 rescues in Cumberland County where swift water rescue teams have joined the effort from other states. More than 430 N.C. National Guard troops with 151 high water and rescue vehicles have been activated, and more are on the way. National Guard crews have been working in: Fayetteville, Sanford, Williamston, Butner, Kinston, Elizabethtown, New Bern, Tarboro, Salisbury, Morrisville, Beulaville and Laurinburg.

The N.C. State Highway Patrol and the N.C. Department of Transportation are urging drivers not to travel unless absolutely necessary in impacted areas, especially after dark. Numerous major interstates and roads, as well as hundreds of secondary roads. Among the major roads that are impacted include: 

  • Parts of I-95, which remain closed in multiple locations due to flooding near Lumberton, Benson, Selma and Fayetteville
  • Parts of I-40 just east of Benson that are closed due to flooding
  • Parts of US-70 east of Selma
  • N.C. Highway 12 in the Outer Banks, which is closed due to sand and high water on the roadway. 

The rains also filled many lakes and ponds to the brim. State and local officials responded to about 11 reports Saturday of dams overtopping. The National Weather Service is forecasting major river flooding across eastern North Carolina through early to mid-week, with potential record levels along the Neuse River.

Major flooding is expected along the:

  • Neuse River in Clayton, Smithfield, Goldsboro and Kinston
  • Cape Fear River at Fayetteville
  • Little River in Cumberland County
  • Lumber River near Lumberton
  • Tar River in Rocky Mount, Tarboro and Greenville
  • Cashie River near Windsor
  • Rockfish Creek at Raeford 
  • Town Creek at Pine Tops
  • Stony Creek at Rocky Mount
  • Crabtree Creek in Raleigh
  • Chowan River in Edenton

Flooding danger is particularly serious in the Fayetteville region, which experienced another 12 inches of rain yesterday in addition to 6 to 10 inches of rain last week. Flooding is also a concern along the Neuse River below Raleigh. Swift water rescue teams have made more than 900 rescues using 58 boat crews and 334 rescue personnel. Of these rescues, 562 were in Cumberland County alone, where the state is working with numerous Swift Water Rescue teams from other states that have been brought in to help.

Governor McCrory announced that 300 North Carolina National Guard troops and 105 high water vehicles have been deployed to assist with rescues. More National Guard resources are expected to deploy today.  

The State Highway Patrol has sent additional troopers to impacted areas to address road safety issues. The N.C. Department of Transportation is also surging resources into impacted areas to open roads that have been closed. The Wildlife Resources Commission has been working with the Department of Public Safety and State Highway Patrol to assist with rescues of people and animals. The U.S. Coast Guard is also assisting with ongoing rescues throughout the state.

The governor said that the State Highway Patrol is working to address 9-1-1 system outages in Currituck, Bladen, Moore, Columbus and Robeson counties. The state is also monitoring water system issues in Fayetteville, Sanford, Chocowinity, Beaufort, Gates and Johnston counties.

The rainfall and high winds have led to many power outages across the state. As of 5 p.m. this afternoon, power outages totaled nearly 720,000 statewide, which includes more than 440,000 in eastern North Carolina and 319,000 in the central part of the state. Utilities have deployed thousands of workers to respond to power outages in North and South Carolina.

More than 75 emergency shelters have opened in central and eastern North Carolina and are currently housing more than 3,000 people. For those needing information, including nearby shelter, housing, and other storm-related details, call 2-1-1.

For more information about how to get ready for a hurricane and what to do during or after a storm, go to ReadyNC.org. You can also get real-time traffic and weather updates on the ReadyNC mobile app. Follow N.C. Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook for the latest on Hurricane Matthew.

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