While the rains stopped over the weekend, the flood crisis in Hurricane Matthew’s disaster area continues.
In portions of North Carolina, water rescues are underway with an estimated 1,5000 storm victims desperate to have their lives saved. Hanging onto street signs on roads that turned to rivers, floating in automobiles, or waving to emergency crews from their rooftops, residents are eager for help. 15-20″ of rain fell from Hurricane Matthew and a lot of that water is finally making it to streams and rivers today in populated areas such as Lumberton.
The Lumber River, which winds through the city of Lumberton, swelled beyond its capacity Sunday night into Monday morning. Rising flood waters spilled across I-95 and into the city, trapping hundreds in apartment and public housing complexes. The Lumber River is currently flowing at 21′ , well over flood stage of 13′. It broke it’s old flood record of 20′ earlier today.
Many other rivers are well over their banks too. In Smithfield , the Neuse River’s current stage is 29.09′ which also exceeds the previous record flood of 27.4′. It is expected to fall below flood stage late Wednesday. The Cape Fear River in Fayetteville crested at 58.9′ Sunday night; the record is 68.9′. While below the record level, the Cape Fear River may stay above flood stage through this Thursday.It could stay in flood stage through Thursday. The Tar River in Louisburg crested Monday morning at 23′, just 3′ short of previous record of 26′. The river is expected to fall below flood stage sometime tomorrow. In the Rocky Mount area, the Tar River crested at 28.4′ while the record is 31.7′. The Tar River’s current stage in Tarboro is at 29.7′, but is expected to crest near 35.4′ Tuesday. That will still be short of the record is at 41.5. Lastly, the Neuse River is Goldsboro is expected to rise to 28.7′ , near the previous record of 28.9′ tomorrow.
North Carolina has many assets deployed to help with this mass rescue operation. The New Jersey State Police sent in NJ-TF1, the Garden State’s Task Force One Urban & Rescue team to the Fayetteville area. While 3 members of the search crew were traveling from Fort Bragg to Lumberton, they saw a couple and their child stuck in a car on I-95. According to the NJ State Police’s Facebook page, the family was trying to cross a flooded road with moving waters and became stranded. “On State Highway 95 near Gillespie Street, Senior Planner Kevin Morrissey, Trooper I Michael Poskay, and SFC Christian Dreyer #5585 encountered a couple and their child trapped in a car. The family was attempting to cross a flooded roadway with moving waters. SP Morrissey was able to maneuver an NJSP vehicle and conduct a slow pass as Tpr. I Poskay and SFC Dreyer pulled the family from the vehicle into the troop car. The family was then safely taken to Longview High School, which is the local shelter,” they wrote.