USA – Floods in North Carolina After Rivers Overflow, State of Emergency in Edgecombe County

Update 28 April 2017

A woman died the evening of Wednesday 26 April when her car was swept off a road near Stantonsburg, North Carolina, according to local media.

Police said the woman had driven around barricades put up to keep vehicles off the flooded highway near Contentnea Creek.

A body found in the Neuse River near Smithfield was not related to the heavy rain and flooding according to police.

Original Report, 27 April 2017

Flooding triggered by torrential rain in North Carolina has left over 100 roads closed and prompted evacuations and flood rescues in several areas.

In Edgecombe officials have declared a state of emergency after flooding from the Tar River. Parts of the state capital Raleigh were left under water after a creek broke its banks.

Although the rainfall has eased, officials are warning that river levels may still rise as flood water makes its way downstream.

This is the first major flood event in the state since the devastating impact of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, where as many as 26 people died in North Carolina and rivers reached record levels in 14 locations.

Edgecombe County

Officials in Edgecombe County declared a state of emergency on Wednesday 26 April. Roads were blocked and homes near the town of Pinetops were evacuated.

In a statement, county officials said: “Due to recent heavy rains, and the flooding some areas are experiencing today, Edgecombe County has declared a State of Emergency.

“Several roads are now impassable and some areas on Bynum Farm Road, just outside of the Town of Pinetops, have been evacuated.

“The Tar River continues to rise, but has not yet reached its peak here in Edgecombe County. As of the time of the press release, the National Weather Service reports the river is expected to crest at approximately 10 p.m. Friday evening, April 28th at 31.7 feet at the Tarboro “Town Bridge” river gauge. Major flood stage at this location is 32 feet. In comparison, the river reached 36.2 feet after Hurricane Matthew last October and 41.5 feet after Hurricane Floyd in 1999.”

Raleigh and Smithfield

Elsewhere in the state, parts of the state capital Raleigh were flooded after a creek broke its banks. Levels of Crabtree Creek jumped from 2 feet on Monday to 19.7 feet on Tuesday 25 April, well above the major flood stage of 17 feet. Flooding forced the Crabtree Valley Mall to close for the day. Levels of the creek have since fallen to below flood stage.

The Neuse River passed major flood stage in Smithfield on 25 April and peaked at 25.36 feet the next day, above the major flood stage of 20 feet. A body was found by authorities near the Neuse River on Tuesday. It is not clear if the death is flood related.

Flood Threat Continues

Although the rain has since stopped, officials warn that there is still a threat of rivers bursting their banks as flood water moves downstream.

In a statement of 26 April, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said that “Forecasters are still predicting some of our rivers to crest today or as late as Monday and we need to remain alert for more flooding.”

He added: “There is the potential for major flooding along the Tar River in Rocky Mount through Thursday morning and in Greenville through Sunday. The Cashie River near Windsor may have some flooding later today or tomorrow that could impact several properties in low-lying areas. Moderate flooding is expected on the Tar River tomorrow at Tarboro and potentially in Princeville (peaking Friday afternoon); and in Greenville (peaking Sunday morning). The Neuse River near Goldsboro also will see moderate flooding peaking Sunday evening with Kinston peaking on Monday morning.”

Governor Copper said that some areas had recorded as much as 9 inches of rain. “The unofficial amounts of rainfall range from 3.5 to 5.5 inches in the foothills, to between 5 and 9 inches of rain across the Piedmont and 4 to 5.5 to 9 inches of rain in coastal counties.”

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Featured photo: Floods in North Carolina, October 2016. U.S. Army National Guard photo

Flood summary

Last updated: April 28, 2017
Event
North Carolina, USA, April 2017
Date
April 24, 2017
Type
River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall

Locations

A - Pinetops
B - Raleigh
C - Smithfield
D - Stantonsburg

Magnitude

River level
6 metres
Crabtree Creek, Raleigh - April 26 to April 26, 2017
River level
7.73 metres
Neuse River, Smithfield - April 26 to April 26, 2017
River level
7.85 metres
Tar River, Rocky Mount - April 26 to April 26, 2017
Rainfall level
153.42 mm in 24 hours
Raleigh-Durham International Airport - April 24 to April 25, 2017

Damages

Evacuated
30 people
Pinetops - April 25 to April 27, 2017
estimated figure
Rescued
6 people
April 24 to April 27, 2017
Fatalities
1 person
Stantonsburg - April 24 to April 27, 2017

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