Neuse flooding presses toward Goldsboro, Kinston

Posted October 10, 2016

— Wayne County saw some of the heaviest rain from Hurricane Matthew, and the impact of the storm is expected to last into next week.

Matthew dumped 14 to 18 inches of rain on the Goldsboro area on Saturday, and many officials are forecasting flooding along the Neuse River to rival the high water seen after Hurricane Floyd in 1999. That has prompted school closings and calls for evacuations days before the river crests in Goldsboro and Kinston.

Water levels in the Neuse normally sit below 17 feet at Goldsboro, and minor flooding begins at 18 feet. The river was at 26½ feet on Monday afternoon and was expected to crest at almost 29 feet on Tuesday afternoon, WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.

"It may not be until mid-week next week that we see it get back to normal," Maze said.

Because of the expected high water, Wayne County Public Schools canceled classes for the rest of the week. N.C. Highway 581 remains closed, and authorities closed U.S. Highway 117 at 9 p.m.

William Parrish put up a handwritten sign warning drivers of high water on a road near his home.

"We can't stop anybody from going through it," Parrish said.

Some people helped their neighbors escape rising waters, and the National Guard and state Wildlife Resource Commission officers had to go to one home to rescue a little girl.

Wayne County has instituted a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, and the Red Cross has opened three shelters for people forced out of their homes by the rising waters.

"I feel kind of sorry for the families and the businesses that are close to my heart," resident Ryan Hood said.

James Chestnut and his son waded through the water Monday to salvage some items from Chestnut's restaurant, James' Delicious Hotdogs.

"I got the coolers and some of the bigger stuff out that we could save," he said.

About 800 inmates were moved to other state prisons and not shelters after rising waters in the Little and Neuse rivers forced the evacuation of Neuse Correctional Institution, a minimum-security prison in Goldsboro, officials said.

Kinston will likely face a similar surge in the river level after Goldsboro.

Lenoir County and the city issued mandatory evacuation notices Monday for residents and businesses along the Neuse and said to be prepared to be gone for several days.

"If your home or business flooded during Hurricane Floyd, you need to take immediate action to prepare for the possibility of flooding later this week," Roger Dail, director of Lenoir County Emergency Services, said in a statement. "We are asking that residents and business owners comply with requests from first responders and law enforcement to evacuate. Even if your residence or business does not flood, access may be severely limited or impossible in the next few days."

The river was at almost 21 feet in Kinston on Monday morning, which is about 7 feet above flood stage. The National Weather Service is forecasting that the river won't crest until Friday afternoon, when it will top 26 feet.


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