Tar-Pamlico expected to crest Thursday

Published 9:37 pm Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Tar-Pamlico River is expected to crest today, carrying with it the floodwaters that have devastated upstream communities.

“It’s all about to come down through us. That’s not supposed to be until Thursday night and into Friday night. Once it crests, then it will hold at its maximum level — hold anywhere from 12 to 24 hours,” Lisa Respess Williams, emergency specialist at Beaufort County Emergency Management, said on Wednesday. “It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining. The roads around here are pretty much clear, but when all this water comes down, people just need to be on their guard.”

According to National Weather Service forecasters, those west of the U.S. Highway 17 Business bridge in downtown Washington are likely to see some flooding. Areas of concern are VOA Road, Cherry Run Road, Tranter’s Creek, Tranter’s Run and River Bluff, Williams said, but all low-lying areas throughout the county — Aurora, Belhaven, Pamlico Beach and Pantego among them — should be watched carefully could also see flooding in the next few days.

“They just need to be aware. If you are in a low-lying area that’s prone to flood, be aware if your circumstances start to change,” Williams said.

While the major roads between Washington and Greenville were reopened Wednesday, Williams said that could be temporary as the river begins to crest today.

The local Red Cross shelter for hurricane/flood victims moved Wednesday from P.S. Jones Middle School to Snowd Branch Church of God in Washington in anticipation of schools reopening today. According to Williams, the Red Cross is making requests of those who’d like to donate items to help flood victims.

“The Red Cross prefers that items not be taken to the shelter. The best way to help is to go online and donate money, or take items to the Salvation Army. They are partnering with the Red Cross to get items to where they’re needed in Pitt and Beaufort counties,” Williams said.

The Red Cross will also host a blood drive today from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Building 10 at Beaufort County Community College.

In Washington and Aurora, points of distribution were operating, handing out MREs (meals ready to eat) to those in need of food assistance due to the hurricane and subsequent flooding.

Don Peters, a squad leader of the Goldsboro Composite Squad of the Civil Air Patrol, said the young people manning the distribution center train for these circumstances.

“The stuff they learn in the classroom, they put in action over here,” Peters said.

Williams said that Emergency Management will keep the county emergency operations center up and running 24 hours a day until the threat of flooding is over.

“Just so people know, the EOC is still up and operating. We will be operating through the week and the weekend. We are continuing to monitor the county. We have state resources available,” Williams said. “I want people to know that we are still up and ready.”