GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on flooding after Hurricane Matthew (all times local):
Gov. Pat McCrory said the death toll in North Carolina from Hurricane Matthew has risen to 20.
McCrory told a briefing in Lumberton on Wednesday that the latest death was reported in Lenoir County. He provided no additional details.
The death toll for the U.S. now stands at 36.
The governor was visiting one of the areas hit hard by flooding, but he called the residents in Robeson County “the most resilient citizens I have ever met.”
McCrory said people hoping to travel through the area should avoid Interstate 95 because a portion of the road is flooded, and he suggested finding alternate routes.
Water has started to flood homes in a North Carolina town founded by freed slaves that was destroyed in flooding in Hurricane Floyd 17 years ago.
Footage from WRAL-TV’s helicopter on Wednesday afternoon showed water up to the porches of many homes Princeville.
Authorities hoped a levee built after Floyd’s floods in 1999 might save the town from the Tar River, swollen by 9 inches of rain over the weekend from Hurricane Matthew. But they went ahead and evacuated Princeville, warning residents water might get around the structure.
In the 1999 floods, much of the town founded in 1865 sat under up to 11 feet of water for nine days.
Emergency officials in Edgecombe County didn’t answer the phone Wednesday afternoon.
Gov. Pat McCrory says more damage is still to come for many people in the eastern part of North Carolina as the state faces its ninth day of Hurricane Matthew’s aftermath.
He also said the state’s death toll from the storm has risen to 19.
At a news conference Wednesday in Raleigh, McCrory said serious flooding is heading downstream even though the weather now looks beautiful.
He said many people are hurting, living in shelters and preparing for major flooding. The governor says major flood issues remain in Robeson County.
The governor is especially worried about the Tar River in Greenville and the Neuse River in Goldsboro.
Four counties have been added to the federal disaster declaration: Bertie, Wayne, Johnston and Wilson counties.
The number of power outages in the state has dropped to 143,000.
Flooding across eastern North Carolina is still expected to get worse before it gets better.
The National Weather Service says the Tar River in Greenville was at nearly 23 feet. It’s expected to reach 25 feet late Thursday night or early Friday.
The airport in Greenville was flooded and officials ordered the evacuation of about one tenth of the city’s 90,000 people. East Carolina University is closed for the rest of the week.
The Neuse River in Kinston is also still rising and is expected to peak Saturday. The weather service says the flooding is comparable to that of Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
Forecasters say all roads on the south side of Kinston will be flooded.
Flooding was also reported in Fayetteville. Forecasters say moderate flooding is occurring and conditions aren’t expected to get better before Friday morning.
Homeowners, students and businesses in one of eastern North Carolina’s population centers are keeping a nervous watch on the river that flows along downtown, as Hurricane Matthew’s deadly after-effects lingered days after the storm passed.
Authorities ordered evacuations for about one-tenth of Greenville’s 90,000 people. The Tar River is expected crest Wednesday.
Military trucks rumbled through leafy neighborhoods Tuesday where orange traffic cones and police tape discouraged people from entering. Police officers were stationed at the edge of the evacuation zone to monitor who came and went.
David Baker, whose family owns the River Bank Apartments, said all but one of their tenants had heeded the evacuation order by Tuesday, and he was spending the afternoon putting boards and sealant across the doorways of ground-floor units.