River cresting in Tarboro

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Residents watch the rising water.

Experts expect the Tar River to crest Friday at the towns of Tarboro and Princeville and remain below the critical 37-foot height of a dike holding back water from those two towns.

But on the east side of Tarboro, Curtiss Joyner watched the river water rise overnight past the two streets behind his house and into his backyard. So despite the expert predictions that the river would crest before it got inside his house, he and friends began moving his stuff.

"Now it done passed Church Street, over here on St. John's, and now it's about to hit Wilson Street here. So I ain't taking no chances," Joyner told ABC 11.

Talk of the river cresting brought a steady stream of people to downtown Tarboro where spectators were allowed out on the Main Street bridge over the River. The water was just a few feet below the bridge but nearly ten feet lower than the crest in 1999 after Hurricane Floyd.

"I'm glad that we can flock to the river instead of to the downtown area that was flooded in Floyd," said Tarboro Resident Sue Adams. "We're so much more fortunate this time to watch it out of its banks but not totally decimating this town."

But even though it wasn't nearly as bad as the Floyd floods, there was still plenty of damage in Tarboro and Princeville both from the initial flash floods associated with Hurricane Matthew and the swelling of the Tar River that came after.

"That's a lot better, but still it's the fact that you've got all this water to deal with and people are in bad shape right now," said Tarboro resident Taries Pender as he watched the river rushing under the bridge.

Experts say even when the river finally starts receding it will remain at least 11 feet above the flood stage of 19 feet through Friday.

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weatherhurricane matthewfloodingTarboro
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