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Flooding and Flood Risk Worsen Sunday as Florence Continues to Dump Record Rainfall Governor Cooper Observes Impacts in Southeast and Coastal North Carolina with Coast Guard as Storm-Related Death Toll Rises to 10

RALEIGH

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper today warned North Carolinians to not let down their guard about Florence. Emergency officials expect flooding and other hazardous conditions to worsen today as relentless rain and river flooding continues to wreak havoc across most of the state.

“Flood waters are raging across our state and the risk to life is rising with the angry waters,” Gov. Cooper said. “Yesterday I urged you to stay off the roads in most parts of the state. That warning still stands today, as the threat of flooded roads keeps spreading.”

Gov. Cooper stated that the storm has never been more dangerous than it is right now for areas from Fayetteville and Lumberton across the Sandhills and Southern Piedmont to our mountains.

Forecasters expect the heaviest rainfall amounts in the southeast and Sandhills through this evening, but there is a high risk for flash flooding from the coast to the western mountains. Some rivers , including the Cape Fear, Lumber, Neuse, Yadkin and portions of the Rocky River and South Fork of the Catawba River, are expected to crest at new record levels, breaking those set during Hurricane Matthew.

Gov. Cooper cautioned people across the state – including those in areas that typically do not experience flooding – to stay alert and heed warnings from emergency officials. If you need emergency help, call 9-11-1. For non-emergency-assistance, call 2-1-1 or text Florence to 898211. For video relay, call 888-892-1162

More than 900 water rescues have been reported so far. Overnight, nearly 1,000 personnel from North Carolina and other states, FEMA, the National Guard and the Coast Guard deployed with more than 200 boats and several helicopters to conduct search and rescue operations, mostly in the southeast portion of the state. Officials anticipate rescue operations to continue for several days.

Gov. Cooper again cautioned people in affected areas against leaving safe shelter to return home to look at damage as this can interfere with and delay the work of emergency responders. Three more storm-related deaths were confirmed today in Duplin County, bringing the official toll to at least 10 lives lost in North Carolina. More deaths are under investigation.

Surveying Damage

Gov. Cooper described devastating conditions he observed this morning during an aerial tour of hard-hit eastern North Carolina with the Coast Guard. The flight travelled south over the NE Cape Fear River, Fayetteville, flooded portions of Interstate 95, Hope Mills, and Lumberton. While weather prevented travelling over Wilmington, the plane headed east over Chinquapin, Jacksonville and Onslow County, and then over the Crystal Coast in Carteret County. Finally, the plane turned back north to fly over New Bern and Craven County before returning to Raleigh.

Gov. Cooper stressed that people across North Carolina need to heed warnings from emergency officials and be prepared to leave their homes for safe shelter when evacuations are ordered. Much of the state is under high risk for flash flooding, a rare designation that means there is a strong likelihood that floods will occur even in areas that typically do not experience them.

“We are working now in doing everything we can to prevent more deaths,” Gov. Cooper said, adding that a request has been made to add more counties to the federal disaster declaration. “People can help us with that by using safety precautions and common sense.”

Power Outages Decrease

As of 1 p.m. today, more than 670,000 customers across North Carolina were without power. Utility crews from North Carolina and other states are working to restore power, but Gov. Cooper urged patience as some areas are likely to be without power for days or weeks. North Carolinians can help by not returning to evacuated areas until they are given the all clear so that utility crews can get their work done more quickly and safely.

Road Conditions

Road conditions across the state are changing constantly, and motorists are asked to stay away from areas affected by the massive and slow-moving storm. As of noon today, Wilmington remained inaccessible by road and concerns were growing over rock slides and landslides in the western mountains. If you must drive in affected areas, check conditions atDriveNC.gov or call 5-1-1.

Shelters

As of noon today, more than 15,000 people remain in more than 150 shelters across the state. Mass shelters are open in Winston-Salem and Chapel Hill. Additional shelter will open if needed. Ten mass feeding kitchens will be opening in locations across the state to feed displaced people.

Resources on Hand to Respond to the Storm

Gov. Cooper has activated more than 2,800 National Guard soldiers to preserve life and safety, provide route clearance of roads, and support communications and logistics. North Carolina Emergency Management and FEMA have staged supplies and equipment strategically to respond to the storm, and first responders across the state are ready. Additional emergency personnel from 28 states have arrived in North Carolina to assist with the storm, including swift water rescue teams, emergency medical personnel, and others. 

2-1-1 Call Line Open 24/7 for People in Need of Help 

The statewide information line can provide callers with nearby shelter, housing and other storm-related details. Dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162, or text Florence to 898211. The information line is staffed around the clock to connect North Carolinians to storm resources. 

Donations 

The Governor’s Office has activated the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund for donations to support North Carolina’s response to Hurricane Florence. This fund has been used in previous disasters. To donate, visit governor.nc.gov or text Florence to 20222.

For more information, download the ReadyNC app, visit or https://www.ncdps.gov/florence or follow NC Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter

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