Sunday: In Matthew's aftermath, rising water and rescues
Posted October 9, 2016
Eight people died in North Carolina as the result of Hurricane Matthew's flooding, and more than 100,000 remained without power more than 24 hours after the storm began making its way along the coast.
The state's main north-south connector, Interstate 95 was closed in three locations, while Interstate 40 was closed in Johnston County between N.C. highways 96 and 55.
The latest on the impact of Hurricane Matthew:
8:48 p.m.: Contrary to an earlier report, Durham Public Schools announced that all facilities and all schools will be open Monday.
5:10: p.m.: Due to widespread power outages, schools in the Wake County Public School System will be closed Monday. Athletic and extracurricular events are also canceled.
Students on traditional calendars will make up the day on Halloween.
4 p.m.: Rivers in Johnston, Edgecombe, Nash counties are at record levels, Gov. Pat McCrory said in a briefing Sunday afternoon. The Tar River could crest at three feet above the previous record.
In Greenville, the water won't have crested until Wednesday. Kinston is expected to see the crest of flooding on Friday along the Neuse River.
Kinston was preparing evacuation plans for residents and businesses along the river.
"This is a prolonged event for our state," the governor said.
"The water that was flooding Fayetteville, Raleigh, Johnston County, is all flowing down and it will create a dangerous situation through the end of the week," McCrory said.
Five people statewide are unaccounted for and believed missing as a result of Hurricane Matthew.
Only property owners were being allowed access to Dare County.
The governor also sought to quash rumors that additional water would be released by the Corps of Engineers. "The locks are open at minimal levels," he said.
3:30 p.m.: Flooding has gotten so dangerous that local authorities issued a mandatory evacuation order Sunday afternoon for the Edgecombe County community of Princeville.
3 p.m.: At 3 p.m., 400,000 customers of Duke Energy Progress were still without power. Almost a quarter of those outages were in Wake County.
Dominion Virginia Power had 280,000 customers still without power, most of them in Virginia and southeastern N.C.
2:30 p.m.: Moore County officials warned residents downstream of the Woodlake Dam that is was nearing breach level and urged immediate evacuation from the area.
2 p.m.: Emergency officials say a 63-year-old woman clung to a tree for three hours after floodwaters from Hurricane Matthew swept her car into a canal in Wilson.
Wilson County Emergency Management Director Gordon Deno says the woman was on her way home from work at a long-term care facility where she's a nurse or a nursing assistant. She left about 11:30 p.m. Saturday, and her family called 911 when she didn't get to her home in nearby Wayne County.
Emergency responders sat on top of a Humvee as they retraced her route so they could look and listen for anyone in distress.
They heard someone "hollering" and tried to rescue her with a rope but couldn't. Deno says a National Guard soldier jumped in the water and swam to her, staying a rescued boat arrived.
She was tired and suffering from hypothermia so she was taken to a hospital. Deno didn't know if she's still there.
1:50 p.m.: The National Weather Service has extended flood warnings for the following counties in central and eastern North Carolina: Wake, Harnett, Johnston, Wayne, Franklin, Wilson and Nash. The warning is in effect through 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
1:18 p.m.: All lanes of Interstate 95 in Dunn will be shut down on Sunday after a dam breach at Rhodes Pond, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Traffic from I-95 will be rerouted onto U.S. Highway 421 in Dunn to Lillington and onto N.C. Highway 401 from Lillington to Fayetteville.
The interstate will be closed for an unknown amount of time.
1:11 p.m.: Johnston County Schools will be closed on Monday and Tuesday to give crews an opportunity to get power and water utilities back on.
12:52 p.m.: Some Chatham County water customers are under a boil water advisory due to a water main break in Sanford.
Customers in the Asbury Water District south of Pittsboro should boil their water before use. Residents who pay a Chatham County water bill and live south of N.C. Highway 64, east of Pittsboro-Goldston Road/Mays Chapel Road/Rosser Road and west of the Haw River are in the affected district.
Residents in Sanford and Lee County are also experiencing periods of low water pressure and occasional water outages.
12:43 p.m.: Lee County Schools and Wilson County Schools said they would be closed on Monday due to damages from Hurricane Matthew.
12:20 p.m.: Officials in Fayetteville say all major roads in the city except for Gillespie Street are expected to reopen by 1:30 p.m. Sunday. A sinkhole has shut down Gillespie Street, officials said.
Fayetteville residents are asked to put storm debris on their curbs.
Officials have rescued almost 700 people in 254 water rescue calls, and four people remain missing.
12:10 p.m.: The Red Cross reports that nearly 4,000 people spent the night in shelters as Hurricane Matthew dumped rain across the eastern and central parts of North Carolina.
The Red Cross said in a statement that 3,824 people stayed in 80 Red Cross or partner shelters Saturday night because of power outages, flooded and closed roads, and water shortages.
The Red Cross expects the number of people in shelters to increase as people discover flood and storm damage to their homes.
12:01 p.m.: The North Carolina Department of Transportation shut down Interstate 40 west at mile marker 334 in Johnston County after flooding washed out part of the highway.
A detour is in place, but officials said drivers should avoid the area.
11:58 a.m.: Campbell University said on Twitter that its main campus and all classes would be closed on Monday because of the effects of Hurricane Matthew.
11:38 a.m.: Almost 500,000 power outages remained before noon on Sunday.
Outages in Wake County numbered 103,000; New Hanover reported 37,700 outages; and Johnston County posted 36,200 customers without electricity.
11:28 a.m.: The North Carolina Department of Transportation updated the status of major roadways:
- Interstate 95 is closed in both directions from exits 17 to 22, exits 79 to 87, exit 100 near Selma and exits 40 to 55 near Fayetteville.
- Interstate 40 is closed in both directions east of Raleigh from exits 309 to 321 and from exits 334 to 341 east of Benson.
- Interstate 95 is open in South Carolina.
11:05 p.m.: The U.S. Coast Guard rescued eight people on Sunday from rooftops in Pinetops after high water flooded the Edgecombe County town.
Video from WRAL's Sky5 showed a USCG helicopter plucking the people off houses surrounded by flood waters.
A dog that was seen swimming the high water before climbing into a tree was also rescued by the Coast Guard, according to Gov. Pat McCrory.
10:53 a.m.: Johnston County Emergency officials urged residents to conserve water due to water line brakes in the southeastern part of the county.
Officials said residents who were impacted by high water should be prepared for the waters to rise again: The Neuse River is expected to crest Sunday afternoon in Clayton at 23.1 feet and on Monday morning in Smithfield at 28.4 feet.
Emergency officials said to expect higher water levels to remain for the next 48 to 72 hours.
10:45 a.m.: Emergency officials confirmed one person was killed in Harnett County after they drove around a barrier and got swept away by the water.
The person was not identified.
10:43 a.m.: Edgecombe County Schools will be closed on Monday.
10:05 a.m.: Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools said buildings will be closed on Monday due to the lasting effects of Hurricane Matthew.
9:45 a.m.: In a news release, Wayne County officials said the county's schools will be close on Monday due to ongoing problems associated with Hurricane Matthew.
9:30 a.m.: Water is not available to Franklin County customers in the City of Henderson and the Town of Louisburg due to power related problems. Officials asked customers, including those in Bunn and Lake Royale, to use "extreme water conservation efforts" to maintain the supply of water that is available.
9:12 a.m.: Gov. Pat McCrory said the 911 call systems in five counties are not working: Currituck, Bladen, Moore, Columbus and Robeson counties.
McCrory said many roads were closed around eastern North Carolina as high water remained in some areas. Additionally, 43 local state of emergencies were declared, 83 shelters were occupied by more than 4,200 people and there were 760,000 power outages.
As the Triangle and counties to the south is left to dry out, the remnants of the storm are still battering northeastern counties in the state, bringing with it 3- to 6-foot storm surges and more potential flooding. McCrory said he signed an expedited major disaster declaration to get federal funding as the state begins to clean up.
9:05 a.m.: Gov. Pat McCrory on Sunday said seven people have been killed in North Carolina due to Hurricane Matthew.
One person died in Pitt, Sampson and Harnett counties, and two people died in both Bladen and Johnston counties. The identities of the victims were not released.
8:55 a.m.: Public Works Commission officials said roughly 20,000 customer are still without power around Fayetteville. That number is down from a peak of 40,000 overnight.
8:38 a.m.: Officials say 574 people were saved in Cumberland County during 227 swift water rescue missions. Another four people are reported missing, officials said.
Authorities said Cumberland County Schools, county offices and courts will remain closed on Monday to allow time for flood waters to recede.
8:15 a.m.: The U.S. Coast Guard is using a helicopter to rescue people from rooftops in Pinetops after severe flooding in Edgecombe County.
At least one person was plucked off a rooftop, and video from Sky5 shows more people waiting to be rescued from other homes.
7:19 a.m.: Fayetteville's Public Works Commission declared a water shortage emergency and asked customers to only use water for necessary activities, which include: sustaining life, maintaining minimum hygiene and sanitation and firefighting.
Once water service is restored, PWC advised customer to boil water until tests can be completed to make sure water is safe for normal use.
7:15 a.m.: Officials confirmed a woman died on Saturday night in Johnston County after she was swept away in flood waters on Interstate 95 near mile marker 83 northbound. The woman's body was recovered around 5 a.m. on Sunday.
The woman, who was not identified, is the fourth confirmed death in North Carolina due to Hurricane Matthew.
3:44 a.m.: Due to telephone system problems, Moore County 911 lines are not working, according to the Aberdeen Times. Anyone who needs emergency assistance should call 910-986-5949 or 910-986-5807. The Moore County Sheriff's Department can be reach at 910-986-5043.
As Hurricane Matthew tailed off into the Atlantic Ocean early Sunday morning and weakened to a post-tropical cyclone, the destruction it left behind was hard to know.
More than 686,000 electric customers in North Carolina spent the night in the dark as widespread power outages covered the state. Overwhelming rain—in some places totaling as much as 15 inches—flooded streets and schools, trapping drivers who tried to ford the waters despite pleas to go home.
"The city is under water," the Raleigh Police Department said as night began to fall. "Every officer in the city is on a weather-related call. Officers can’t respond to anything else at this time. Please, please, please stay home. It is unsafe to be out."
Flash flood warnings were canceled early Sunday morning for many counties in eastern North Carolina, but flood warnings were extended into daylight hours for Cumberland and Harnett counties, among others.
The National Weather Service projected that the Tar River would crest Sunday morning at 26 feet, or 5 feet above flood stage. But the full extent of the damage done by the storm couldn't be seen in the darkness of night.
Gov. Pat McCrory said three people were killed in North Carolina as a result of Hurricane Matthew.
Two people died when their car stalled in floodwaters and washed into a Bladen County creek, and a third died in Sampson County, McCrory said. The names of those killed have not been released.
Cumberland County authorities said one person was missing Saturday night in high water. They did not offer any information about who the person was or the circumstances. In Cumberland County Saturday, 77 people had to be rescued as water rose, and more than 100 checked into emergency shelters.
The storm maintained its Category 1 status shortly after 2 a.m. as winds swirled around at 75 mph. The Triangle will see sustained winds around 15-20 mph with gusts topping 30 mph, said WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss.
As night turns into day, a few clouds will linger in the skies and temperatures will rise into the 60s. The sun shine through the clouds, but it will also reveal the extent of the damage left behind.
In addition to the hundreds of thousands of people were without power in North Carolina, roughly 750,000 people in South Carolina were left without electricity, and 250,000 were in the dark in coastal Georgia. About 1 million people in Florida lost power.
Four deaths were blamed on the storm in Florida and three more in Georgia. The deaths included an elderly Florida couple who died from carbon monoxide fumes while running a generator in their garage and two women who were killed when trees fell on a home and a camper.
Property data firm CoreLogic projected the storm would cause $4 billion to $6 billion in insured losses on home and commercial properties. That compares with Hurricane Katrina's $40 billion and Superstorm Sandy's $20 billion.