Governor Cooper Urges Caution as Flooding Continues to Threaten Eastern NC Communities

RALEIGH
Governor Roy Cooper today cautioned North Carolinians to remain vigilant as the threat of more flooding remains for parts of eastern North Carolina.
 
“Conditions are improving and the forecast is encouraging, but we can’t take anything for granted,” said Gov. Cooper. “Sadly, we’ve learned of a fatality in Greene County yesterday that occurred after a driver drove around a barricade on a flooded road. I urge everyone to remain cautious and stay safe while traveling.”
 
Governor Cooper is asking people in eastern North Carolina to watch for flooding in low-lying areas, avoid flooded roads and stay tuned to local weather forecasts.
 
While widespread rainfall isn’t expected, the Coastal Plain could see scattered showers and thunderstorms over the next couple days. These storms will be spotty in nature, but capable of producing briefly heavy rain over the flooded areas.
 
Transportation and emergency management are monitoring flood gauges for minor to major flooding that will continue, in some areas, into next week. Some of the more critical areas of concern as of Thursday include Smithfield, Rocky Mount, Tarboro and Greenville.
 
Local and state Emergency Management officials continue to monitor several rivers, including the Tar River in Rocky Mount and Greenville and the Neuse River in Smithfield. Officials stress that towns along these rivers that are cresting and experiencing peak flood levels now or in the future will see water levels drop more slowly than they rose.
 
There is still the potential for major flooding with the Tar River in Rocky Mount and the Neuse River in Smithfield, with flooding peaking in those areas today; the Tar River in Greenville is expected to peak on Sunday.
 
Five primary routes and 70 secondary roads are closed due to flooding. The affected primary routes are concentrated in Greene, Edgecombe and Wilson counties.
 
Transportation officials have closed I-795 North/U.S. 264 West between Exit 43 (U.S. 301) and Exit 40 (N.C. 42) due to a failed pipe beneath the roadway. The NC Department of Transportation estimates that it will take two to three days for contractors to complete repairs and re-open the road. Motorists in the area should follow the marked detour.
 
Transportation officials urge drivers to never drive around barricades, even if the road appears clear. Flooding can cause washouts underneath the roadway, and DOT crews will not open a closed road until it has been inspected for safety.
 
Emergency officials urge residents to follow these safety tips:
  • Move to higher ground when flash flood warnings are issued. Don’t wait for instructions.
  • Never drive into flooded areas or across flooded roads. If you cannot see the road, it may not be there.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock over an adult.
  • Follow detours and obey traffic barricades that close off roads.
  • Never park or camp along streams, rivers or creeks.
 
For the latest flooding information, download the ReadyNC mobile app and check the flood gauges nearest you. For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on Twitter.
 

This press release is related to: