GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Governor Pat McCrory warned of flooding dangers in front of the Town Commons in Greenville Monday, which was already underwater.
“There’s now over 10 people who have died,” said McCrory. “And almost all of them were drownings in their cars. We do not want to lose any more life. We know what’s happening, we know what’s going to happen. Therefore there’s no excuse.”
The storm dumped over a foot of rain in some spots over the weekend, creating hazardous conditions and claiming the lives of 8 people statewide.
Officials continue monitoring the Tar River in Pitt County, expected to reach major flood stage Monday.
The City of Greenville has issued mandatory evacuations for many people living by the river and as of 12:30 p.m. will close the Greene Street bridge.
County emergency management officials warn this is a two-part storm. The first part was flash flooding over the weekend. That caused washed out roads throughout Pitt County, some even collapsing, stranded cars, and widespread damage.
First responders are warning people to prepare for the second part of the storm, which is long-term flooding expected this week.
Sheriff Neil Elks is urging people in low-lying areas to evacuate now, not just for their own safety, but also for the safety of first responders.
“We are there to assist you and our first priority is public safety and we want to make sure we follow through with that. Let my deputies spend time keeping you safe and figuring out how we’re going to keep the roads open, to the fastest route to the hospital to your location and the fastest route for us to be able to respond,” Sheriff Elks said.
The Tar River is expected to surpass 20 feet Monday and reach 26 feet later this week. That’s only a few feet away from where it was after Hurricane Floyd.
Pitt County Emergency Management Director Allen Everette says don’t be deceived by the nice weather Sunday.
“It’s important that people realize this is a two component storm…. Flash flooding, potential long term flooding for several, several days. So very important that we get out and make sure that everyone understands the severity of what we’re dealing with here in Pitt County and eastern North Carolina,” Everette said.
There are three shelters open in the county at Hope, Welcome, and E.B. Aycock Middle Schools. The Red Cross says it will open more if needed.