With more rain and flooding to come and access to Wilmington, North Carolina, cut off, officials stress mandatory evacuations are in place as dams and levees are stressed and area rivers overflow their banks, reports USA TODAY.
The Cape Fear, Little, Lumber, Waccamaw, and Pee Dee rivers are all projected to overrun their banks. Thousands of residents have taken refuge in more than 100 shelters opened across the state. Inland, especially in North Carolina’s western mountains, landslides are also now a major concern.
“You know it’s hard to leave home,” Gov. Roy Cooper said while touring a string of shelters across the state. “You miss it as soon as you walk out the door. But tens of thousands of North Carolinians have had to do that this week.”
The slow-moving storm was centered about 145 miles north of Greensboro, North Carolina, at 5 a.m. ET Monday. Flooding and “catastrophic/historic river flooding” will continue over much of the Carolinas, the National Hurricane Center warned.
Emergency personnel performed more than 900 water rescues in North Carolina, according to the governor’s office, and hundreds more are awaiting help. Efforts to rescue them were complicated by the closure of roads, including parts of Interstates 95 and 40.
Eleven fatalities have been reported in North Carolina and six in South Carolina. Among the confirmed deaths: a man who drowned when a pickup flipped into a drainage ditch, a couple who died of carbon monoxide poisoning running a generator indoors, a woman whose vehicle hit a tree branch, a pickup driver who died after the vehicle struck a bridge support and another pickup driver who lost control of the vehicle and hit a tree.