Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Governor McCrory Warns of Continued Life-Threatening Flooding Across Eastern and Central North Carolina

Oct 11, 2016

Governor Pat McCrory emphasized today that the ongoing life-threatening flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew is expected to continue impacting eastern and central North Carolina into the week.

“Yesterday I saw first-hand the very dangerous conditions that still exist for many people,” said Governor McCrory. “I am extremely proud of our emergency responders on the local, state and federal level, and I am proud of our citizens who are helping each other. I urge people impacted by this storm to take all instructions from local officials. Do not go through standing water. Do not put our first responders at risk in an effort to save you.” 

The greatest threat remains inland flooding that will continue into this week in central and eastern North Carolina. The National Weather Service is forecasting major-river flooding with potential record levels along the Neuse and Tar rivers. There is major additional flooding predicted for towns and cities along the Lumber and Cape Fear rivers, along with many other rivers and creeks. State officials are monitoring a number of overtopped or breaching dams in central and eastern counties.
The governor said that resources are in place to respond at identified locations which include ambulance buses, law enforcement, feeding stations, generators, basic neccesities, swift water rescue teams, field hospitals, high water clearance vehicles, National Guard and Ambulance Strike Teams.  
To date, more than 2,000 people have been rescued by swift water rescue teams and more are expected throughout the day. People in central and eastern North Carolina remain under a flood watch or warning.
The North Carolina National Guard has activated more than 1,000 troops, to assist with recovery efforts. There are also 400 high water and rescue vehicles which have been activated. The U.S. Coast Guard continues to assist with rescues. The National Guard, State Highway Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard have increased aviation assets and completed more than 90 air rescues.
There have been 14 confirmed weather-related fatalities and three people are still reported as missing. Three additional fatalities were confirmed overnight, one in Wake County, when a tree fell on a driver, and one each in Cumberland and Wilson counties, where victims were discovered in submerged vehicles.
Governor McCrory warned motorists to concentrate on safe driving, to put down their mobile devices in order to minimize distractions and to never drive through standing water on roads and highways. He also urged drivers not to pass through temporary barriers or barricades.
Numerous major interstates and roads, as well as hundreds of secondary roads remain closed. Among the major roads that are impacted include:
  • Parts of I-95 remain closed from Dunn south to Fayetteville, and from St. Pauls south through Lumberton
  • The westbound side of I-40 is closed between Newton Grove and Benson. 
  • Parts of US-70 in both directions in Wayne and Lenoir Counties (east and west of Goldsboro)
  • Parts of NC Highway 12 in Dare County.
The latest updates on road closures can be found at ReadyNC.gov, the ReadyNC mobile app or by calling 5-1-1.
Power outages across the state continue to fall. As of 10 a.m., power outages totaled approximately 255,000 statewide, down from more than 800,000 on Sunday. Utilities are continuing to work around the clock to respond to power outages in affected areas.
Nearly 4,000 people are in 51 emergency shelters in central and eastern North Carolina. In the Lumberton area alone, 1,200 people are in shelters. Food and water has been distributed to those in need, and that effort is continuing. For those needing information, including nearby shelter, food and water and other storm-related details, call 2-1-1 for support.
As we move into the recovery phase, Governor McCrory said the state is working to get people out of shelters and back into their homes or temporary housing as soon as possible. This is particularly important as most of the shelters are located in schools.
The long range recovery task force is also activated to help jumpstart the recovery process. The task force partners with local community officials to create programs and long-term recovery plans that meet community needs.
The American Red Cross is in desperate need for volunteers. They have opened a volunteer intake center in Fayetteville at the Kiwanis Recreation Center at 352 Devers Street.
Local officials have issued several mandatory evacuations in Kinston, Greenville, Princeville, in parts of Moore County near the Woodlake Dam area and in various parts of Lenoir County.
The governor warned of the continued environmental dangers of the standing floodwaters, and asked residents in affected areas not to cross through or swim through flooded waters. This is especially crucial in areas where floodwaters have crossed agricultural areas, which have been hit particularly hard by this storm. Those in affected farmlands who require assistance can call the Agriculture Disaster Hotline at 1-866-645-9403.
The governor announced yesterday that he received an initial federal disaster declaration for 31 counties, opening the door for further federal assistance to recover from the massive flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew. This declaration will help local and state governments augment the costs of responding to the disaster and also help pay to clear and remove storm debris.
The governor said there is still an opporunity to add counties to the declaration in the coming days as emergency teams conduct damage assessments.
Governor McCrory emphasized that the state is better prepared than ever to handle the financial implications of the storm. Under the governor’s leadership, North Carolina has tripled the balance in the state’s Rainy Day Fund to an all-time-high of $1.6 billion.
The governor thanked private sector partners who have been helping with response efforts. AT&T has announced that it will provide $25,000 to go toward supplies in areas impacted by Hurricane Matthew.
Other private sector partners who are interested in helping with the relief efforts can email beoc@ncdps.gov or call (919) 825-2454.
Governor McCrory is calling for additional support for families regarding food stamps and the deadline to file taxes. The governor also announced that a North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund is being coordinated by his office that will serve as the main way for people to give assistance. More information on this 501-c3 will be made available in the future.
For more information about responding to a hurricane and what to do before, during or after a storm, go to ReadyNC.gov. 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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