SOUTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - As Florence continues to batter southeast North Carolina with wind and rain, the predicted significant and dangerous flooding has begun.
Pender County officials have issued mandatory evacuations for residents living near the Black River, the Northeast Cape Fear River, as well as creeks and streams.
"If you had flooding along the Northeast Cape Fear River during Hurricane Floyd, you need to evacuation now," said Tom Collins, Pender County Emergency manager. "If you had flooding during Hurricane Matthew, you need to evacuate."
The National Weather Service reported a flash flood happened at 2:30 Saturday afternoon at several locations in western Pender County.
Columbus County officials are warning residents that flooding similar or worse than with Hurricane Matthew is expected in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Fair Bluff residents were urged to evacuate ahead of the anticipated quick rise of the Lumber River. Fair Bluff fire crews were scheduled to begin assisting people evacuate at noon Sunday, Sept. 16 through dusk. Evacuees should take bedding and medication.?
Crusoe residents were asked to evacuate Sunday due to rising flood waters. Voluntary evacuations began at 12:00 pm today for Fair Bluff area. If you are in a low area that is flood prone, please evacuate to a shelter or another area.
Emergency officials made several water rescues.
At least 35 people have been rescued in Pender County - half of the rescues occurred from vehicles and the other half were in structures.
In Whiteville, first responders report crews have rescued more than 80 people as of Saturday night.
New Hanover County also reported making numerous water rescues Saturday night.
"As was predicted, severe flooding is occurring in our area and more residents are becoming displaced," said Steven Still, New Hanover County Emergency Management Director. "We urge people to stay off of the roads to allow our first responders to get to those who have an emergency and allow teams to continue to clear debris."
Waters are rapidly rising across the region, especially in these locations:
- Shallotte River
- Lockwood Folly
- Caw Caw Swamp near Carolina Shores
- Soules Swamp near Whiteville
- Waccamaw River
- Black River in Currie
- Caswell Beach Road
- The Sanford dam near Boiling Spring Lakes has failed. According to the mayor pro tem, officials were going to attempt a controlled breach, but the dam broke before they could.
- The Shallotte River breached the Gray Bridge in Shallotte Sunday afternoon. The water is rising on both sides of the bridge, making the roads unpassable.
Again, please do not drive into standing bodies of water on the road.