Concerned Kinston residents watch and wait as Neuse River rises

Josh Chapin Image
Friday, September 21, 2018

KINSTON, N.C. (WTVD) -- People in Kinston are watching the rising Neuse River.

The rising river made it necessary for county officials to close Highway 70 in Lenoir County in both directions -- in all, that's a 15-mile stretch.

County officials have barricaded a variety of intersections downtown as well as to other low-lying neighborhoods.

Lenoir County says the river is at 24 feet. They expect it to rise another two feet to a level that's lower than Matthew.

"This is not as bad as the last one we don't think," said Bruce Parson. "I worked here all of my life, I've got a lot of friends here and people here pitch in to help."

There are no mandatory orders for people to evacuate just yet.

"It's a waiting game to see how high the river will rise," said Samuel Kornegay, emergency planner for Lenoir County. "If you are in one of those flood-prone low-lying areas, you still have a little bit of time to get out but you need to take warning and get out of those areas."

"The camping grounds have been closed," said Debra Greene, a long-time Kinston resident. "I'm not sure what's going on with the nature center but it floods because it's down low and there's nothing but water over there now. We've had some communities that have been truly washed out and they can't rebuild but it's still home. It's still home."

Prior to Florence, county officials doubled the number of ambulances available.

A mobile hospital has also been set up in the southern part of the county if the flooding gets catastrophic.