Evacuations continue as North Carolina rivers rise from Florence
BLADENBORO, N.C. (AP) — Hurricane Florence is by no means done with the Carolinas, where some rivers are still rising and thousands of people were told to plan to leave their homes on Monday before rivers reach their crest.
About 6,000 to 8,000 people in Georgetown County, South Carolina, were alerted to be prepared to evacuate potential flood zones ahead of a “record event” of up to 10 feet of flooding, which is expected to begin Tuesday near parts of the Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers, county spokeswoman Jackie Broach-Akers said.
The county’s emergency management director, Sam Hodge, said in a video message posted online that authorities are closely watching river gauges, and law enforcement would be going door to door in any threatened areas.
“From boots on the ground to technology that we have, we are trying to be able to get the message out,” Hodge said, warning people not to wait for an official evacuation order if they begin to feel unsafe.
In North Carolina, five river gauges still showed major flood stage levels and five others were at moderate flood stage, according to the National Weather Service.
The Cape Fear River was expected to crest and remain at flood stage through the early part of the week, and parts of Interstate 40 are expected to remain underwater for another week or more.
While hundreds of smaller roads remain impassable, there was some good news: Interstate 95 was reopened to all traffic Sunday night for the first time since the floods, North Carolina Governor. Roy Cooper announced.
Floodwaters already receding on one stretch of Interstate 40 left thousands of rotting fish on the pavement for firefighters to clean up.
North Carolina Emergency Management Director Michael Sprayberry said major flooding is continuing in eastern counties along the Black, Lumber, Neuse and Cape Fear rivers.
“Florence continues to bring misery to North Carolina,” Cooper said in a statement Sunday evening.
He added that crews conducted about 350 rescues over the weekend and that travel remains treacherous in the southeastern area of his state.
But he said National Guard members would be shifting next to more door-to-door and air search wellness checks on people in still-flooded areas.
The storm has claimed at least 43 lives since slamming into the coast September 14.