McCrory: 20 storm-related deaths in NC after Matthew

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Thursday, October 13, 2016
McCrory: 20 storm-related deaths in NC after Matthew
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Flooding from Hurricane Matthew

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Governor Pat McCrory announced Wednesday that there are now 20 storm-related deaths in North Carolina following Hurricane Matthew and the water is still rising in some communities.

The Neuse River at Kinston is forecast to crest at record level on Saturday.

The Tar River crested late Wednesday night in the Tarboro/Princeville area. The floodwaters are now moving towards Greenville, which should see the Tar River crest Friday.

The governor had a direct message for people in evacuation zones who are refusing to leave.

"We've had too many deaths. Get out!," he said. "Once that water flows it's too late."

The death toll for the U.S. now stands at 36.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Evacuations in Moore County, Lumberton, Princeville, Kinston, Lenoir County, Vass and Goldsboro
  • A boil water advisory has been issued for Sanford, Lee County and parts of Wayne County.
  • A boil water advisory has been lifted for Spring Lake.
  • A boil water advisory has been lifted for Johnston County, with the following exceptions: Mulberry Road, Parkertown Road, Adams Road, 678-1723 Five Points Road, Shadowwood Road, Three Sisters Drive, 640-1535 Castleberry Road, Riverbend Drive and Point Lane
  • 20 people in North Carolina have died.
  • 3 parts of I-95 remain closed in Fayetteville/Lumberton area due to flooding, 1 part of I-40 near Benson also closed
  • Eastern towns could experience flooding throughout the week.
  • About 77,000 Duke Energy customers remain without power across the state
  • Federal disaster declaration received for 31 counties. Declaration also approved 10 counties for individual assistance.
  • Officials are assessing dam overtopping, breaches and failures throughout the state, particularly in Hoke, Moore, and Bladen counties.

WATCH: ECU Students remain on an extended fall break as flooding plagues Greenville

Students remain on an extended fall break as flooding plagues Greenville.

WATCH: Steve Daniels takes an aerial tour of flooding

Steve Daniels took an aerial view of the flooding from Matthew. This image is from Sampson County.

Get the latest breaking news updates on the ABC11 news app

McCrory said Wednesday before he toured the flood damage in Lumberton that a Lenoir County resident was the latest confirmed death in NC.

"We are still dealing with the very serious effects of Hurricane Matthew in Robeson County, which is one of the hardest hit areas in the state," McCrory said.

The governor called the residents in Robeson County "the most resilient citizens I have ever met."

WATCH: DeJuan Hoggard reports on the severe flooding in the Lumberton area

DeJuan Hoggard reports from hard-hit Robeson County.

Lumbee Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. said the tribe was struggling to get bottles of drinking water.

"It's kind of amazing," he said. "Life itself can't sustain without water, and what caused this was water."

"And you can't blame water," he added, "because it's just part of the environment, and it's part of what God's created for us to manage."

The town of Fairmont and Oakfield are still in dire need of help, according to Fairmont Town Manager Katrina Tatum.

WATCH: Fairmont Town Manager Katrina Tatum briefs Gov. Pat McCrory on the dire situation

Fairmont Town Manager Katrina Tatum briefs Gov. Pat McCrory on the dire situation in her town.

After McCrory's address to the media, Tatum approached the governor about the situation in her town and nearby Oakfield. She also thanked McCrory for the resources Robeson County is receiving.

Earlier Wednesday, McCrory disclosed two people in Wayne County had died - a person in a vehicle drowned and that the body of a 51-year-old man who was swept away Sunday while walking in Johnston County has been recovered.

The Wayne County man was identified as Lemuel Frank Kornegay, 54, of Goldsboro. Kornegay's car was swept away by floodwaters, Goldsboro Police said.

WATCH: Jon Camp shows before-and-after of four hard-hit areas

Before and after shots help explain the magnitude of flooding after Hurricane Matthew.

Other deaths blamed on the storm include a man in Wake County who was killed when a tree fell on his truck Monday night.

Two drivers - one in Cumberland County and another in Wilson County - had their vehicles submerged by rushing flood waters along US-301 and Hwy-51.

Three more have drowned in Columbus and Robeson counties.

McCrory also said that a man died in Lumberton after a shooting Monday night involving a North Carolina Highway Patrol officer and two deputies during the high water situation.

On Wednesday evening, the State Highway Patrol identified the man as 56-year-old Dennis Hunt of Lumberton.

RELATED: Governor says man dead in officer-involved shooting in Lumberton during flood

"Our state continues to make progress responding to the devastation from Hurricane Matthew but dangerous conditions persist," McCrory said Tuesday. "We will continue doing everything possible to fight for all available resources to help people recover."

On Monday, McCrory said one of the storm-related deaths was a 75-year-old man in Gates County who was discovered inside his car.

Earlier, the NC Highway Patrol said a woman died when a vehicle was swept off Monzingo Road in Pitt County.

In Johnston County, a woman died when the car she was in was swept off Interstate-95 at mile marker 83 near Four Oaks.

Also in Johnston County, Highway Patrol said five people traveling on Cornwallis Road near NC-42 were swept off the roadway. Four of the passengers escaped and were able to cling to nearby trees. The fifth person was carried away and died, troopers said.

McCrory said one person in Sampson County and two people in Bladen County have died as a result of the storm. The first person was killed when their car hydroplaned. The two in Bladen died in a flooded vehicle.

The Harnett County Sheriff says a person drowned after they drove past a barricade near Carolina Drive and was swept away into a creek. Sunday afternoon he was identified as 74-year-old Charles Luther Strickland of Dunn. His body was found in the vehicle after it was pulled from the water.

Another person died in a storm-related fire in Rowan County.

The governor has received a federal disaster declaration for 31 counties, opening the door for further federal assistance to recover from the massive flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew.

"A lot of people are hurting right now in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and the devastation is beyond words," McCrory said. "This expedited declaration will help provide much needed and immediate federal assistance to communities impacted by Hurricane Matthew. I want to thank our federal partners for approving this declaration quickly and for their continued assistance."


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ABC11 Eyewitness photo - Athens Drive

Counties approved for the disaster declaration include: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Greene, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Lenoir, Nash, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Robeson, Tyrrell, Washington, and Wayne counties.

The declaration also approved 10 counties for individual assistance to help homeowners and renters repair or replace damaged homes. Those counties include: Beaufort, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Hoke, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt, and Robeson counties.

McCrory has warned that the dangerous flooding will continue to be an issue this week after Matthew dumped torrents of rain on our state over the weekend - creating the worst flooding since Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

"North Carolina is resilient, our people are strong and we are going to get through this together," said Governor McCrory. "This storm is still impacting people in a big way. You have got to see it to believe all the devastation that has occurred."

Late Monday night, evacuations were issued for Spring Lake and Vass after Moore County officials and state inspectors announced a leak in the Woodlake Dam in eastern Moore County.

The Woodlake Dam was stabilized early Tuesday morning after an inspector spotted a hole in the dam.

RELATED: Evacuations ordered after threat of Woodlake Dam failure

Kinston could face the worst flooding it has ever seen, according to McCrory. There were also evacuations in Princeville and voluntary evacuations of low-lying Goldsboro.

Stay on top of the storm, download the ABC11 News App


ABC11 Meteorologist Don 'Bigweather' Schwenneker said even though it's going to be dry for the week ahead, it's going take time for all this water to move away. "We still have roads underwater and areas where the water is not draining due to debris" Bigweather continued, "If you see water over a roadway, you need to treat it seriously and don't drive through it!"

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper is also warning residents about scams connected to Matthew.

RELATED: North Carolina officials warning residents about Hurricane Matthew scams

The Red Cross has shelters open across the state.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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