US

Drivers Told to ‘Go Around’ North Carolina Due to Flooded Roads

By Zachary Stieber

Drivers have been told to avoid North Carolina due to flooded roads from Hurricane Florence.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation stated in an alert: “Due to flooding in southern and eastern NC and potential landslides in the west, NCDOT advises that motorists not travel through North Carolina.”

Major highways I-95 and I-40 have experienced flooding, which has gotten so intense around the state that the department noted that its current alerts may not be completely up to date.

Drivers traveling south or north toward the state should be aware that GPS systems are routing drivers into areas the department doesn’t recommend for travel.

According to the National Hurricane Center, flash flood warnings are in effect across a large portion of southern and western North Carolina.

Florence, now a Tropical Depression, is “expected to produce heavy and excessive rainfall over the next couple of days,” the center stated early Monday, Sept. 17.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement on Sunday that flooding from rain and rivers continues to wreak havoc across the state.

“Floodwaters are raging across our state and the risk to life is rising with the angry waters,” Cooper said. “Yesterday I urged you to stay off the roads in most parts of the state. That warning still stands today, as the threat of flooded roads keeps spreading.”

A number of rivers, including the Cape Fear, Lumber, and Neuse, are expected to crest at record levels.

According to the statement, there have been 10 confirmed deaths, but others have been reported and are being investigated. Some reports said 17 people were dead.

Hurricane Florence floods roads
Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence surround a house and flow along the street in Fayetteville, N.C., on Sept. 16, 2018. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Hurricane Florence hits Wilmington
Mike Pollack searches for a drain in the yard of his flooded waterfront home a day after Hurricane Florence hit the area in Wilmington, N.C., on Sept. 15, 2018. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Flooded roads have completely cut off the city of Wilmington, a city of nearly 120,000 people.

Officials plan to airlift food and water to the residents as rescuers elsewhere pull inland residents from homes threatened by swollen rivers.

In Wilmington, the state’s eighth largest city, residents waited for hours outside stores and restaurants on Sunday for basic necessities like water. Police guarded the door of one store, and only 10 people were allowed inside at a time.

Brock Long of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said not only to expect more impacts in North Carolina but also “you are about to see a lot of damage going through West Virginia, all the way up to Ohio as the system exits out.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.