Now that Hurricane Matthew has passed, North Carolina is dealing with major flooding; swollen rivers threaten much of the state. Many of the rivers in central and eastern North Carolina have already reached record, or near-record, levels according to reports coming from the state.
Hurricane Matthew caused the displacement of several thousand people, and has officially claimed the lives of 36 residents of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Authorities have now requested that people in the eastern part of North Carolina leave low-lying areas, as 31 counties are now under a federal disaster declaration.
The Tar River in Greenville, NC and even the Neuse River in Kinston, NC are still rising and are not expected to fully peak until the coming days, according to Fayetteville authorities. Due to this, many bridges and even the Greenville airport is closed for the time being.
School officials also cancelled classes for East Carolina University in Greenville for the rest of the week, and as the sun comes out, school officials warned students to still stay away as flooding is still dangerous.
Kinston Mayor BJ Murphy spoke to WITN-TV Wednesday, and, referring to city residents, said: “We want you to evacuate these low-lying areas absolutely and immediately… the time to get out is now.”
Yet, for some it is too late. Wesley Turner, a 71 year old retired construction worker, said: “I can’t get to my house because it is under water.”
These concerns come after officials from the governor’s office have been monitoring a number of the states dams, as many have been overtopped and breached. This has led to many towns placing mandatory evacuations under further notice, like the one placed on residents near the Woodlake Dam in Spring Lake.
At the current moment, the totality of the disaster seen in North Carolina is unclear, yet officials are likening Hurricane Matthew to Hurricane Floyd, which caused $3 billion in damaged and destroyed 7,000 homes.