Although many communities are lifting evacuation orders and cleaning up following Hurricane Florence, Governor Roy Cooper today alerted North Carolinians that major flooding is still occurring across many rivers in North Carolina, including the Lumber, Cape Fear, Neuse and Trent. Residents of Bladen, Craven, Cumberland, Greene, Robeson, Columbus, Wayne, Lenoir, Pender, Duplin and Jones counties need to remain alert and aware.
To date, Florence has claimed the lives of 27 people in North Carolina.
“People in flood prone areas or near waterways need to remain alert as rivers crest and stay above their banks in coming days,” Cooper said. “Stay alert, and stay safe.”
North Carolina residents can view flooding and inundation maps at https://fiman.nc.gov/fiman/ .
“We know that we’re a state that is hurting. But one thing I know is that North Carolinians are strong. North Carolinians are resilient. People that I’ve been talking today are helping each other. Our local, state and federal partners are pulling together and working in a coordinated way to make sure we help people,” said Governor Cooper. “And, neighbors are helping neighbors. Communities of faith are stepping up. I talked to one woman whose house had been destroyed—she was out serving meals to other people. That is the spirit of North Carolina. And that is the spirit that I am witnessing across this state.”
Roads in many areas of southeastern North Carolina remain dangerous, and motorists may encounter impassable roads nearly a week after the storm began bashing the coast. To help plot a safe route, people can use the N.C. Department of Transportation’s DriveNC.gov website or the ReadyNC app for updates on road conditions and other information.
In the hard-hit areas around Wilmington, Fayetteville and Lumberton, numerous highways and secondary routes remain closed Wednesday due to floodwaters and debris. Identifying a safe, reliable highway into Wilmington not at risk of flooding continues to be a challenge until floodwaters subside.
The governor and NCDOT are coordinating with the N.C. Highway Patrol, NC Emergency Management, National Guard and the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as local law enforcement, to ensure critical personnel and supplies are delivered to impacted areas such as Wilmington.
Much of Interstate 95 between Lumberton and Benson is closed, and so are portions of Interstate 40 in Duplin and Pender counties north of Wilmington.
Statewide, the number of road closures stood at 800 at mid-day Wednesday – down from almost 1,600 on Monday.
Disaster relief on the way
Federal aid is on the way. People in 18 counties can start applying for federal assistance, after the Federal Emergency Management Agency granted Gov. Cooper’s request for a major disaster declaration for the following counties: Bladen, Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, and Wayne counties. The governor has requested a major disaster declaration for additional counties, including Greene, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Pitt, Richmond, Scotland, and Wilson counties. Anyone with a home damaged by Florence in any county is encouraged to begin the FEMA registration process by calling 1-800-621-FEMA to register via telephone or by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov to register online.
Twenty-five North Carolina counties are authorized for Farm Service Agency emergency loans for eligible family farmers through the U.S. Department of Agriculture: Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Chatham, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, Onslow, Pender, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Wake, Wayne and Wilson. Applications may be received for physical and production losses through May 17, 2019. More information is available at www.fsa.usda.gov.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has opened a Business Recovery Center (BRC) in Greenville to help storm-impacted businesses. SBA representatives at the center can provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and assist businesses in completing the SBA application. The Center is located in East Carolina University’s Willis Building at 300 East First St. in Greenville and operates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Additional information about the SBA loan process is available by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Power Outages and Shelters
The number of shelters in operation and power outages continue to decline. Approximately 172,000 customers remain in the dark across the state. About 7,800 residents are being sheltered in 80 locations.
First responders have rescued and evacuated more than 3,000 people and more than 900 pets from flooded areas so far, and the rescues are ongoing.
Residents and property owners should seek direction from their local governments on when to set out fallen limbs and other storm debris for collection. NCDOT crews will collect vegetative debris off roadways and rights of way along state-maintained roads after they have cleared. Property owners should check with their insurance agency for potential coverage of debris removal.
The North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund is available for donations to support North Carolina’s response to Hurricane Florence. To donate, visit governor.nc.gov or text FLORENCE to 20222.
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. Other resources can be obtained by visiting ncdps.gov/Florence or following NC Emergency Management on Facebook and Twitter.