McCrory: Matthew ‘has the potential for NC to see the worst floo - | WBTV Charlotte

McCrory: Matthew ‘has the potential for NC to see the worst flooding since Hurricane Floyd’

(Jonathan Rodriguez/CBS North Carolina) (Jonathan Rodriguez/CBS North Carolina)
RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) -

Gov. Pat McCrory said in a press conference Saturday morning that Hurricane Matthew needs to be taken extremely seriously by North Carolina residents.

The storm weakened from a Category 4 early Friday down to a Category 1 around 8 a.m. Saturday. Matthew is expected to remain a Category 1 as it stays just off the southeastern coast of North Carolina late Saturday or early Sunday.

The hurricane made landfall near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, not far from where Hurricane Hugo made landfall in 1989. The storm has slowed down and that could result in an even longer period of heavy rain for both South and North Carolina.

Heavy rain and wind will affect much of North Carolina on Saturday .

FULL COVERAGE: CLICK HERE TO TRACK HURRICANE MATTHEW

Gov. McCrory said that those hazards pose a deadly threat.

He said in his press conference that he “cannot stress enough how serious an issue this story, this hurricane can cause to North Carolina; not only to damage and structures, but to human life.”

McCrory didn’t mince words when it came to how serious a threat Hurricane Matthew is to the state.

“This has the potential for North Carolina to see the worst flooding since Hurricane Floyd,” he said.

Although coastal areas are under hurricane or tropical storm warnings, McCrory said his biggest concern is for those inland.

“These types of hurricanes that settle over our state that cause the most damage and loss of life and destruction,” he said. “Most of our concerns right now are inland where we’re gonna have surges on the major rivers coming into North Carolina, which could cause serious, serious damage.”

He also said residents need to be ready for prolonged power outages.

Currently, more than 43,000 power outages have been reported throughout North Carolina, the governor’s office said. Utilities have deployed more than 5,700 personnel to the state to help respond to power outages.

The Sandhills could see anywhere from seven to 15 inches of rain on Saturday and gusts up to 60 mph. A swath of central North Carolina, including Raleigh, may see up to seven inches of rain, while the western half of Wake County as well as Durham and Orange counties could receive up to four inches of rain. Gusts up to 45 mph are expected in Raleigh, Rocky Mount, Sanford and Pinehurst.

In isolated inland areas the potential exists for life-threatening flash flooding.

The governor said those in low lying areas need to leave and that rising water can easily kill those who don’t take the threat seriously.

Little River at Manchester in Spring Lake hit record high levels last week at 31.2 feet, the National Weather Service said. Major flooding is expected again today and the river will crest at a new record stage around noon Sunday.

Bragg Boulevard and Manchester Road will be flooded as the river reaches major flood stage early tonight.

State resources mobilize

Gov. McCrory said that trucks, boats and equipment staged in Kinston have been sent to Elizabethtown, New Bern and Williamston. Storm-related issues are expected in Southport. We have a CBS North Carolina crew on the ground in Southport.

Local swift water rescue teams are in Brunswick, New Hanover, Onslow, Pitt, Wilson, Cumberland and Craven counties.

Hazard response teams have been sent to Williamston, New Bern and Elizabethtown.

Sixty National Guard high-water vehicles have been staged in Laurinburg, Sanford, Elizabethtown, New Bern and Williamston.

Nearly 200 National Guard troops have been called in and 68 water rescue teams will be operation throughout the state.

The governor said that the state’s Emergency Operations Center has transitioned to 24-hour operations and there are more than 100 people in the building in Raleigh.

Voluntary evacuations have been issued in Pender, Cumberland, Robeson, Beaufort and New Hanover counties.

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