Flooding major concern in Matthew’s aftermath
Published 12:08 pm Sunday, October 9, 2016
Flooding associated with Hurricane Matthew poses the greatest danger to Beaufort County and other areas along rivers in eastern North Carolina, according to the National Weather Service office in Newport.
That flooding likelihood is getting the attention of area emergency-management officials, including John Pack, the Beaufort County’s emergency-management director.
“We’re extremely concerned for the areas in the northwestern part of the county, We are monitoring it, and we’re interest in what 27 feet is going to bring us. We know what 29 feet brought into the county from (Hurricane) Floyd,” Pack said Sunday morning. “It’s going to have impacts. We may have VOA Road closed for some time.”
“A combination of water and trees in roads,” Pack said about the most-significant issue his office faces in the wake off Matthew. “Trees, especially those wrapped in power lines, are a problem. We have to wait until the power companies get the lines out of the trees before we can do anything with them.”
There were no known fatalities or significant injuries due to Matthew, Pack said.
At Washington, the Pamlico River was 5.02 feet above normal at 7 p.m. Saturday, with the river level continuing to rise. Flood stage at Washington is 4.5 feet. When the river reaches 4 feet above normal, state, county and city officials are urged to take action to minimize flooding effects, according the NWS’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.
Pack’s office is keeping a close watch on river flooding triggered by heavy rainfall and storm surge during the weekend. “We will transition into flooding, but right now it’s safety. That’s are No. 1 priority,” Pack said Saturday.
The following waterways are expected to reach major flood stage in coming days: Tar River at Greenville, Neuse River at Kinston and Contentnea Creek at Hookerton. Those waterways are expected to crest several feet above their flood levels around Wednesday or Thursday, according to NWS data. The Tar River at Greenville is expected to crest at 20.2 feet Thursday. Major flood stage at Greenville is 19 feet.
“This event has the potential to create a once-in-a-lifetime flooding levels for some areas,” according to an NWS briefing. “Many rivers could flood to major flood levels. This could be the worst flooding seen in eastern North Carolina since Hurricane Floyd.”
The most-vulnerable locations for major flooding are where rivers drain into sounds, according to the NWS office in Newport.
Sunday morning, there were 190 people at the shelter at P.S. Jones Middle School and 24 people at the shelter at Southside High School.