Eastern NC braces for continued flooding from Hurricane Matthew

Eight storm fatalities in NC

EASTERN N.C. — Hurricane Matthew has left the eastern seaboard, but the effects of the storm will remain in Eastern North Carolina for at least the next week as river levels continue to rise and flooding increases throughout the state.”We have known and we warn about the power of water,” said Gov. Pat McCrory. “Hurricane Matthew is off the map, but it will still be with us for another week.”Hurricane Matthew, which was downgraded to a Category 1 storm by the National Weather Service as it made landfall in North Carolina on Saturday, brought heavy rainfalls and winds to eastern regions. McCrory announced in a Sunday afternoon press conference, there were eight fatalities as a result of the storm and five North Carolinians remain missing. “People were swept off the roads and they drowned,” said McCrory. Fatalities occurred in Rowan, Pitt, Sampson, Harnett, Bladen and Johnson counties. Four individuals remain missing in Cumberland County and one in Harnett County. McCrory reported there are 770,000 power outages in Eastern North Carolina, 43 local state of emergencies have been declared and 76 shelters have opened as refuge. Boil water advisories have been issued in Fayetteville, Sanford, Roberson, and Duplin counties. State Health Director Randall Williams has sent nurses to assist in the evaluation of three nursing homes in Goldsboro. RISING RIVER LEVELS Local, state and federal agencies have worked around the clock to assist in evacuations and rescues as the rising of rivers and flood levels remain of grave concern to the state of North Carolina. Currently, the Cumberland River stands at 24 feet with flooding in 400 buildings. The Cape Fear River is expected to rise to 31 feet, a full two-feet over the previous flood record. Officials with the City of Wilson have reported the Silver Lake Dam has been breached. The Tar River, which runs through the towns of Rocky Mount, Tarboro, and Nashville is predicted to rise 3 feet over the previous record last held by Hurricane Floyd in 1999 with most of the river rising occurring this evening into early Monday morning. The Town of Princeville in Edgecombe County has issued a mandatory evacuation of all residents with an evening curfew set at 7 p.m. Shelters have been opened at Martin Millennium Academy and Tarboro High School in Tarboro. The City of Rocky Mount has carefully monitored Stoney Creek and has addresses rampant social media rumors regarding the opening of the gates to the dam as the water levels continue to rise.”The city does not have a flood controlled dam,” said Mayor David Combs. “Therefore, we do not control the water going over the dam and will not open the gates.” Shelters in Rocky Mount have opened at Nash Central High School and DS Johnson Elementary School. “Some creeks and rivers are continuously rising, and area shelters are open. We are still asking everyone to remain home. If you must leave your homes, proceed with caution, and remember to never drive through standing water,” said Combs. The City of Kinson are bracing for a week of heavy flooding and major impact to Lenoir County. “The Neuse River will continue to rise this week and Kinston is preparing for the worst flooding in its’ history,” said McCrory. “Projections show they will experience another six days of flooding.””We have answered 150 rescue calls of people trapped in their homes or cars and have 224 people staying at the shelter located at Lenoir Community College,” said Roger Dail, director of the Lenoir County Emergency Services. The City of Kinston and Lenoir County are preparing for the Neuse River, which runs through the city, to rise to 30 feet on Friday. A full three inches more than the high water mark record of 27.7 feet established on September 23, 1999 by Hurricane Floyd. Prior to the 1999 flood, Hurricane Fran held the high water mark record at 23.3. feet. “We are preparing for water levels to reach Fran levels on Tuesday, Floyd levels on Thursday and the final crest from Matthew at 8 a.m. on Friday,” said Dail. “This is a dangerous, life-threatening flood where homes will be damaged,” he added. Currently, 85 percent of citizens are without power as crews are working diligently to restore electricity. “I strongly suggest everyone stays home if you do not need to be out,” said Mayor BJ Murphy. “Please take the rest of this week very seriously.”The City of Kinston has not ordered mandatory evacuations yet, but will continue to monitor the situation this week. North Carolina has deployed over 432 member of the National Guard and 151 high water and rescue vehicles. Hundreds of residents called after a yellow Labrador retriever was filmed by WRAL swimming in flooded waters in Pinetops. The U.S. Coast Guard was able to safely rescue the stranded animal. “We are proud of our teams that are rescuing people and animals,” said McCrory. “We want people to be patient and safe.” SCHOOL CLOSINGS The following schools have issued closing for Monday, Oct. 10: Cumberland County Public SchoolsDuplin County Public SchoolsEdgecombe County Public SchoolsJohnston County Public SchoolsLenoir County Public SchoolsNash-Rocky Mount Public SchoolsNorth East Carolina Prep SchoolPitt County Public SchoolsPender County Public SchoolsWilson County Public Schools