PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Recent heavy rain in southeastern North Carolina has caused the Northeast Cape Fear River to crest at well above flood stage, according to Pender County Emergency Management Officials.
Flood stage for the river is at 10 feet. Wednesday, the river crested at 14.53 feet and officials said it had gotten up to 14.7 feet.
Tom Collins, the Emergency Management Director, said they were prepared for the high levels and have been watching the river gauges. They were able to warn those living in the impacted areas that there would be flooding.
He said the impacted areas are homes and neighborhoods along and off of Shaw Highway and Highway 53. About 100 families are impacted. Collins said the areas have flooded before, and most are used to it.
Many moved their vehicles in anticipation of the high waters and are using boats to get into their neighborhoods.
Collins mentioned that crews did go in to help about three people get out, who were unable to get out themselves.
Crews will go into the neighborhoods and assess the damage when the water recedes.
"As far as just a rainfall, this is as high as I have ever seen it come up since I have been around up here," said Scott Tinney. The entrance to his neighborhood, Holly Shelter Estates off of Shaw Highway, is completely flooded. The road to his home is also underwater. The only way he has been able to access his property is by boat.
"Walking down the road you probably will hit some spots that are four feet deep," said Tinney. "On average it's probably a foot-and-a-half to two feet over the road."
He said his neighbors expected the flooding and moved their vehicles to higher ground. Most left, to go stay with family and friends, however, a few remained.
"Everybody kind of knew it was coming and got all of their stuff out, there are a few people still down here that are hunkering down and just waiting until the water recedes," explained Tinney. "But, everyone is all right, no one is trying to get out and can't get out."
Collins said the high river and recent rains has also caused standing water on parts of Highway 53 near the rock quarry. While the water is shallow, it has been freezing at night. As a result of the ice, he said there were several minor crashes Wednesday morning.
Collins said NCDOT put out signs warning drivers to be careful.
He anticipates the river will maintain this level for a couple of days then start going down significantly.
Other areas with reported flooding:
- Shaw Highway at Carl Meeks Road between Rocky Point and Burgaw
Parts of Croomsbridge Road and Whitestocking Road in Burgaw are closed because of high water.