Governor McCrory Warns North Carolinians to Be Prepared for Historic Flooding from Hurricane Matthew

Raleigh

As the latest storm track for Hurricane Matthew shifts further north and west, Governor Pat McCrory is warning North Carolinians to be prepared for historic flooding.

“What we feared is now happening in North Carolina,” said Governor McCrory. “The immediate concern from Hurricane Matthew is life threatening rain accumulation that has the potential for North Carolina to see the worst flooding since Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Our resources are in place and we are ready to respond. Be prepared, be careful and be safe.”

Forecasts show Hurricane Matthew will have the greatest impact in North Carolina starting early Saturday morning with heavy rainfall, storm surge and winds across eastern and central portions of the state.

As much as 15 inches of rainfall are expected in areas of southeastern North Carolina near Wilmington. Rainfall totals for southeastern inland locations around the I-95 Corridor could see up to 10 inches of rain. Governor McCrory stated that this is especially concerning for the Fayetteville region, which recently experienced severe flooding. Northeastern sections of the state could see 5 to 10 inches of rain further exacerbating recent flooding in Bertie County and surrounding areas.

The strongest winds are expected beginning Saturday through Sunday afternoon, with sustained winds across southeastern North Carolina of 50 to 60 miles per hour and gusts close to the coast up to 85 miles per hour. Governor McCrory warned that winds coupled with wet ground will result in widespread downed trees and power outages.

Storm surge south of the Cape Fear area is forecast to be between 4 and 6 feet, and from Cape Fear to Salvo is expected to be between 2 and 4 feet. Officials say Matthew will also bring with it significant beach erosion and overwash in coastal communities.

A Hurricane Watch has been declared from Surf City to Cape Lookout, and Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect from Surf City to Duck, including Pamlico and Albemarle sounds.

Mandatory evacuations have been issued for visitors to Ocracoke. Voluntary evacuations have been issued in:

  • Pender County’s low-lying areas, including Topsail beach and Surf City
  • Cumberland County’s low-lying and flood-prone areas
  • Brunswick County towns of Bald Head Island, Caswell Beach, Oak Island, Holden Beach, Ocean Isle, Sunset Beach, Boiling Springs Lakes, Calabash, Carolina Shores, Shallotte, Southport and Saint James
  • Ocracoke for residents
  • All New Hanover County beaches, and areas around New Centre Drive, Racine Drive and Edgewater Club Road.

Emergency shelters have opened in the following areas:

  • Brunswick County - North Brunswick High School, South Brunswick High School and West Brunswick High School
  • Bertie County also opened the Bertie County High School as a shelter
  • Columbus County officials have opened shelters at West Columbus High School, South Columbus High School, East Columbus High School and Edgewood Elementary School

Shelters are on standby to open if necessary in Onslow, Wilson, Johnston and Lee counties. Other county officials are considering opening shelters.

Governor McCrory’s request for a disaster declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was accepted today for 66 North Carolina counties where the storm is forecast to have the greatest impacts. The declaration expedites federal assistance for emergency protective measures.

The governor on Friday urged caution along the Outer Banks as state transportation officials are expecting the storm to impact N.C. Hwy 12 on the north end of Ocracoke Island and Hatteras. N.C. Department of Transportation officials have staged equipment at those locations as well as Buxton, Pea Island and Kitty Hawk.

The state’s Ferry Division has already suspended operations between Ocracoke Island and the mainland and anticipates suspending operations on the Ocracoke-Hatteras route Saturday morning.

All state parks east of I-95 are now closed and will remain so until at least Sunday, the governor said.

Governor McCrory emphasized that state emergency response officials are 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 nearly 180 troops and 68 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 North Carolina has also deployed resources to help neighboring states to the south. North Carolina has sent two Swift Water Rescue teams and one Helo-Aquatic Rescue Team to South Carolina. At the request of Florida Governor Rick Scott, North Carolina has also deployed a mobile disaster hospital, as well as medical evacuation buses and teams to assist with relief efforts.

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.

# # #

This press release is related to: