Sunday, October 9, 2016


Rain, wind, floods, even fire from Hurricane Matthew in NC

Posted 8:36 a.m. yesterday
Updated 1:29 a.m. today

Hurricane Matthew, although a Category 1 storm, spread misery from Myrtle Beach to the middle of the Tar Heel State Saturday. Winds whipped at speeds of up to 65 mph and more than a foot of rain fell in some places, especially in and around Fayetteville.

Thousands of people across the state sought shelter, and hundreds of thousands were without power where high winds downed trees and power lines.

Although clearing skies are in the forecast, it will likely be mid-morning Sunday before utilities can evaluated conditions and begin to restore power.

10:40 p.m.: High winds fed a fire in Cherry Grove, S.C., Saturday night.

The building at 49th Avenue North was fully engulfed, but firefighters were not able to get to it because the wind was too strong.

10:15 p.m.: More than 600,000 customers were without power across the state and many will be in the dark overnight.

The Rolesville mayor said Duke Energy would have to survey downed power lines from above, and that helicopters would not be able to fly until at least Sunday morning, leaving residents there without power over night.

9:55 p.m.: The Red Cross storm shelter at Nash Central High School was among the hundreds of thousands of locations across eastern North Carolina without power late Saturday.

Fred Winner, shelter manager, said that the 81 people who sought refuge there were safe and planned to stay through the night.

9:30 p.m.: Raleigh police issued a statement Saturday night urging people to stay home.

"The city is under water," it said. "Every officer in the city is on a weather-related call. Officers can’t respond to anything else at this time. Please, please, please stay home. It is unsafe to be out."

9:15 p.m.: Wake, Durham and Orange counties were seeing rainfall decrease as Hurricane Matthew began the slow pull to the east and north.

Winds were gusting to about 33 mph in Raleigh and almost double that in Wilmington.

Fayetteville has recorded almost 15 inches of rainfall over the past 48 hours.

9 p.m.: Pitt County is the latest to put a curfew in effect. About 8 inches fell there through 9 p.m.

Customers of Fayetteville's Public Works Commission water supply were urged to boil water before using it for drinking, brushing teeth and washing dishes. Water main breaks and power loss at PWC's main plant led to low-pressure in the system, which could introduce bacteria.

8:40 p.m.: Mayor David Combs issued a state of emergency for his community Saturday night, warning that flooding in the city could approach levels last seen with Hurricane Floyd.

8:25 p.m.: Communities from western Wake County east through Rocky Mount and all along the North Carolina coast were waiting Saturday night for flood waters to recede as Hurricane Matthew's heaviest rainfall moved out of the state. The National Weather Service projected that the Tar River would crest Sunday morning at 26 feet, or 5 feet above flood stage.

High winds through the overnight hours continue the threat that trees, rooted in saturated soil, will blow over, knocking out power.

7:50 p.m.: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest's north Raleigh residence was destroyed Saturday night when a tree fell on it. No one was injured.

7:30 p.m.: Gusty winds and heavy rain returned to Wrightsville Beach after dark, part of the back side of Hurricane Matthew.

Customers of PWC in Cumberland County were without water after flooding Saturday night. The utility said it was working to restore service.

7:15 p.m.: The Town of Carolina Beach planned to re-open the Snow Cut Bridge and lift curfews Saturday night as wind and rain from Hurricane Matthew eased up along the coast.

7 p.m.: Cumberland County authorities said one person was missing Saturday night in high water. They did not offer any information about who the person was or the circumstances. In Cumberland County Saturday, 77 people had to be rescued as water rose, and more than 100 checked into emergency shelters.

5:50 p.m.: Authorities in Cumberland County asked that churches consider cancelling Sunday services to allow first responders clear access to roads where floods and downed trees require their attention.

Sampson and Wayne counties added curfews beginning at 6 p.m. to one already starting at 7 p.m. in Cumberland County. Only law enforcement officers, employees working in an official capacity or those providing a necessary service are allowed on the roads during those hours.

5:35 p.m.: The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning through 7 p.m. for Hoke, Cumberland and Sampson counties, where between 6 and 15 inches of rain has fallen.

5:25 p.m.: Go Triangle and Go Raleigh, the bus services for the capital city, will suspend service at 8 p.m. Saturday night in an effort to keep drivers off increasingly dangerous roads.

In Fayetteville, authorities posted a curfew from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. to keep people indoors as they wait for high water to recede. Fayetteville has received almost a foot and a half of rain over the past 24 hours.

5 p.m.: Matthew is clinging to hurricane status, National Weather Service officials said in their latest update.

At 5 p.m., the Category 1 storm had sustained winds of about 75 mph as it moves east-northeast at 13 mph. The center of circulation sits about 138 miles south of Raleigh, and the storm is expected to hug the coast of North Carolina throughout the evening on Saturday.

4:45 p.m.: Sections of several major highway are closed in North Carolina due to flooding generated by Hurricane Matthew.

The following highways are shut down:
I-95 at mile marker 44 just north of Tom Starling Road outside of Fayetteville
I-95 at mile 116 and 119 at N.C. 42 and 95 in Wilson County
I-40 on the Johnston Sampson county line near mile marker 242
N.C. 87 just north of the town of Tar Heel in Bladen County
U.S. 701 north of Clarkton in Bladen County
N.C. 242 north of Elizabethtown in Bladen County

4:30 p.m.: City of Fayetteville officials say the Greencock Avenue Dam in the Aaron Lakes area has a high possibility of failing.

Aaron Lakes residents who live downstream are encouraged to evacuate to the South View High School shelter. Other shelters in Fayetteville are at the Smith Recreation Center and Spring Lake Recreation Center.

4:20 p.m.: Wake County opened an emergency shelter Saturday afternoon at Southeast Raleigh High School, 2600 Rock Quarry Road. Those coming to the shelter should enter through the school's main entrance and bring any special needs items with them.

Pets will be allowed, officials said, but owners should bring crates, leashes and food for animals.

4:15 p.m.: Power outage numbers have spikes as heavy rain continues to fall across the bulk of eastern North Carolina.

More than 100,000 people in Wake County are without power, and almost 280,000 Duke Energy customers are without power in North Carolina.

3:40 p.m.: The City of Fayetteville continues to tell its residents to stay off the roads as life-threatening flooding continues in Cumberland County.

Fayetteville authorities have conducted 50 water rescues on Saturday, and 32 people are in shelters as of 3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m.: Emergency officials have closed Interstate 40 in both directions between exits 319 and 325 due to water in the roadway.

3:15 p.m.: Heavy flooding has forced officials at Fort Bragg to close the following roads:

Butner Road at Wilson Park, Normandy and Rhine, Knox and Honeycutt, Honeycutt between the ACP at Bragg Blvd. and the housing area (main post side), Macomb and Souter, Normandy and Reilly and Yorktown Victor and McRidge.

Manchester Access Control Point and Reilly ACP are now closed. All other ACPs remain open for normal operating hours.

3:15 p.m.: The City of Raleigh has opened a shelter at John Chavis Community Center, 505 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, as a temporary location for those without power or those affected by flooding.

More than a dozen areas in Raleigh are dealing with street flooding, including New Bern Avenue at Raleigh Boulevard, Glenwood Avenue at Wade Avenue, Tryon Road at Durham Drive and Atlantic Avenue at Ridgeway Court.

Multiple traffic lights are also out across parts of the city.

2:45 p.m.: Gov. Pat McCrory says three people have been killed in North Carolina as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

Two people died when their car stalled in floodwaters and washed into a Bladen County creek, and a third died in Sampson County, McCrory said. The names of those killed have not been released.

McCrory says rivers across the state will crest in the next two to three days, making dangerous, life-threatening flooding a risk even after Matthew pulls offshore.

More than 200,000 people are without power in the state, McCrory said.

"This is a very serious and deadly storm," McCrory said. "We do not want you to be driving."

2:35 p.m.: Fayetteville police are rescuing people from the tops of vehicles in multiple locations.

In a video posted on Facebook Saturday afternoon, emergency officials can be scene pulling someone off the rooftop of a car near Highway 87.

2:20 p.m.: Bladen County officials say at least two people are presumed dead after their vehicle stalled in standing water and then washed into a creek on Rosindale Road near Old Tram Road in Bladen County.

Three people were inside the car when it stalled, and one made it out OK, officials said. No information about the identity of those in the car has been released.

2 p.m.: Matthew is still holding on to its status as a Category 1 hurricane as it treks slowly up the coast of North Carolina and South Carolina.

At 2 p.m., the National Weather Service said the storm has sustained winds of about 75 mph. Matthew is moving northeast of 12 mph, and the center of circulation is about 145 miles south of Raleigh.

The storm is expected to hug the coast Saturday evening and night as it continues to drop heavy rain on all of central and eastern North Carolina.

1:55 p.m.: According to WECT, two people died Saturday when the car they were in became submerged in floodwaters in the Clarkton area of Bladen County.

1:45 p.m.: Due to rising waters, NCDOT has shut down westbound lanes of Glenwood Avenue at Creedmoor Road.

1:30 p.m.: City and county emergency responders have performed water rescues from vehicles and/or homes in 15 locations as Matthew continues to dump water on central North Carolina.

1:20 p.m.: The National Weather Service has extended a flash flood warning for much of central North Carolina through at least 7 p.m. Saturday.

The warning includes Wake and Durham counties.

1:15 p.m.: Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson urges residents to stay indoors as floodwaters rise, says roads are too bad for people to travel to storm shelters.

Crabtree Valley Mall officials also announced that the mall will close at 1:30 p.m. as a precaution.

1:05 p.m.: At least one car was submerged Saturday afternoon on a section of Proctor Road in Raleigh, where water had blocked off a section of a neighborhood.

WRAL reporter Emmy Victor captured a photo of the scene.

12:55 p.m.: The National Weather Service says "life-threatening" weather conditions are overspreading Cumberland, Sampson and Hoke counties. More than 8 inches of rain in some spots is producing widespread flooding, dam breaks and bringing down trees.

Rainfall amounts have reached 2 to 3 inches per hour in some parts, forecasters said.

Road washouts and dam failures are possible Saturday afternoon, and wind gusts of up to 50 mph will continue to down trees and tree limbs.

Officials say people in their homes should stay there if possible.

12:50 p.m.: As many as 81,000 customers are without power across North Carolina as Matthew continues to pound the state with heavy rain and wind.

In South Carolina, at least 73,000 people are without power.

Widespread flooding is being reported across areas from the Triangle south and east, especially in Cumberland, Hoke, Sampson and Wayne counties.

Mark Frederick sent WRAL News a photo of a rain gauge from his yard in Wendell showing 7 inches of rain had fallen as of 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

12:35 p.m.: As North Carolina continues to feel the impacts of Hurricane Matthew, Gov.Pat McCrory reminded residents to check in with loved ones and recommended texting as the primary form of communication.

“It’s important to communicate with friends and family during a major storm such as this,” McCrory said in a statement. “People can lose contact with one another during a disaster and that can be stressful for loved ones. Knowing which options are best for you and your family is part of good storm preparation strategy.”

Emergency management officials say that communicating via SMS text messaging makes sense because non-essential calls often shutdown wireless phone service and prevent 911 calls from getting through and emergency personnel from being able to communicate with each other.

12:30 p.m.: The state Department of Transportation's Ferry Division has suspended operations on the Hatteras Inlet route after the 8 a.m. departure from Ocracoke to Hatteras.

Hyde County officials and the NCDOT will work together to expeditiously restore services and visitor access to Ocracoke Island as the conditions permit, officials said.

12:10 p.m.: WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner says the heavy rains falling across central and eastern North Carolina will continue for the next several hours as Hurricane Matthew moves slowly up the coast of South Carolina.

Heavy rain bands have been moving through the region most of the morning, and it will continue through the evening.

Gardner said parts of Fayetteville have seen 7 to 8 inches of rain already.

11:50 a.m.: Across the City of Fayetteville, as many as 45 roads are shut down by flooding or downed trees, the city said.

Cross Creek has overrun its banks at Festival Park in Fayetteville, N.C.

11:45 a.m.: WRAL News is receiving numerous reports of flooded roads throughout the central part of the state, including parts of Cumberland, Hoke and Sampson counties.

Emergency officials are urging residents to avoid travel if possible and not to drive through flooded roads.

11:35 a.m.: Hurricane Matthew continues to pound the South Carolina coast as it moves toward the Tar Heel State.

WRAL reporter Adam Owens captured a rare scene in Myrtle Beach. where Ocean Boulevard is deserted.

11:30 a.m.: Hurricane Matthew has washed out Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and led NASCAR to schedule a doubleheader Sunday.

The Cup race will start at 12 p.m. on Sunday and air on both NBC and NBC Sports Network. The Xfinity Series race will begin at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Sunday and air on NBCSN.

11:20 a.m.: The following roads in Fayetteville are closed due to flooding: Ray Avenue, McBain Drive, Campbell Avenue.

Fayetteville officials said crews are responding to reports of downed trees and flooding throughout the city.

11:15 a.m.: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is warning residents to watch for fraudulent emails that have shown up as Hurricane Matthew moved along the coast.

The governor said Saturday that people are receiving emails stating that they have an update on power outages. Haley said the email provides a link to get the update.

The governor said those who click on the link have opened their computer to hackers.

Haley says it's important for people to be sure they recognize the sender of emails before opening them. She says those from unknown senders should be deleted.

11 a.m.: Hurricane Matthew, now a Category 1 storm, has made landfall in McCellansville, S.C., as it moves slowly up the East Coast.

The storm was barely a hurricane at the 11 a.m. update, with winds of about 75 mph.

The storm was moving northeast at 12 mph and is expected to hug the coast of South Carolina and southern North Carolina throughout the day on Saturday.

10:25 a.m.: City of Fayetteville officials are urging residents in the area to limit travel as roadways and ditches become filled with water.

Emergency service crews are beginning to respond to a number of downed trees and power outages in and around Fayetteville, officials said, and there are sporadic outages being reported.

Residents in low-lying, flood-prone areas have been asked to voluntarily evacuate.

Shelters are open at the following locations: South View High School, Smith Recreation Facility and Spring Lake Recreation Center.

10:15 a.m.: The National Weather Service in Raleigh says areas south and east of Raleigh will see between 5 and 10 inches of rain between Saturday and Monday as Matthew moves by.

Southern Harnett County, Hoke, Cumberland and Sampson counties are at a higher risk of flooding from the heavy rains. Bragg Boulevard and Manchester Road are prone to flooding as the Littler River crests, forecasters said.

9:50 a.m.: Officials in Hoke County are reporting flooding in many parts of the county, including along Golf Course Road, Red Springs Road, Arabia Road, Maxton Road, Freedom Road and Old Maxton Road.

Department of Transportation officials said drivers should avoid those areas.

WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said several parts of Hoke and Cumberland counties have seen between 3 and 4 inches of rain already as Matthew's heavy rain bands move into the southeastern part of the state.

9:30 a.m.: Winds are picking up along Wrightsville Beach, where WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth and WRAL reporter Leyla Santiago are reporting live.

9:10 a.m.: Gov. Pat McCrory says North Carolinians should be very concerned about the possibility of life-threatening flooding from Hurricane Matthew as the storm moves by on Saturday and early Sunday.

"The real concern for us are several rivers, the cresting of these rivers," McCrory said of the flood risk.

McCrory said Matthew could end up generating the worst flooding in our state since Hurricane Floyd moved through the state in 1999.

“If it can cause damage to structures, it can cause damage to human life, and it’s not something to be played around with," McCrory said.

The state has 180 National Guard troops available to respond to Matthew and 68 high-water vehicles.

9 a.m.: With Hurricane Matthew bearing down on the North Carolina coast, Gov. Pat McCrory is holding a briefing to discuss how the state will respond to areas of need.

Matthew weakened to a Category 1 storm Saturday morning as it continued its slow trek up the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina. The storm has sustained winds of 85 mph and is moving northeast at 12 mph.

8:45 a.m.: The state is running its last ferry from Ocracoke to Hatteras until Hurricane Matthew passes.

The state Transportation Department said in a news release that the last ferry on that route was schedule to leave Ocracoke at 8 a.m. Saturday.

So far, state ferries have evacuated more than 1,300 people from Ocracoke on its Hatteras, Cedar Island, and Swan Quarter routes.

8:45 a.m.: Emergency operations officials in Cumberland County say there are reports of downed trees in the county, especially around 71st High School, Camden Road and along Goldsboro Highway.

Nine people came to three emergency shelters opened in Cumberland County, officials said.

8:30 a.m.: More than 6,000 power outages have been reported in and around Wilmington as Matthew nears.

More outages and potentially life-threatening flooding is likely on Saturday as heavy rain falls across the state.