McCrory: 17 people now confirmed dead in aftermath of Hurricane - | WBTV Charlotte

McCrory: 17 people now confirmed dead in aftermath of Hurricane Matthew

RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) -

Gov. Pat McCrory now says 17 people in North Carolina have died in storm-related deaths in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Earlier Tuesday, McCrory said he was "distraught" about the loss of life, and hopes to prevent the number of deaths from climbing."

federal disaster declaration has now been approved for 31 counties. Click HERE to see counties approved for the declaration. 

“This expedited declaration will help provide much needed and immediate federal assistance to communities impacted by Hurricane Matthew” McCrory said

Evacuations are currently underway in parts Greeneville, where McCrory says "the airport is flooding as we speak." Other areas of focus are the town of Princeville, in Edgecombe County, where McCrory says the next 24 hours will be "difficult." 

"Get out," McCrory urges to anyone in the area near Woodlake Dam. An evacuation has been ordered for the area and anyone who refuses, McCrory says, will have to pay for their rescue. 

Tuesday, McCrory also confirmed that a man was shot and killed in Lumberton, which involved Highway Patrol responding to flooding. The SBI is investigating the trooper-involved shooting. No further details have been released. 

The N.C. Highway Patrol said the man confronted a trooper and him and two members of the Robeson County Sheriff's Office as they were conducting a search and rescue operation in Lumberton on Monday. Lt. Jeff Gordon said the man became hostile toward the officers and displayed a handgun.

Gordon said the trooper saw the gun and shot the man. The trooper has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, which is standard operating procedure in any shooting involving the patrol.

The State Bureau of Investigation is conducting the investigation.

An update on power outages puts around $282,000 homes without power in the state. To date, 94 air rescues have been made, McCrory said. 

Matthew left behind flooding, power outages and residents in need of being rescued from their homes. 

RELATED: Hurricane's cost, chaos lingers in water-logged N. Carolina

McCrory joined local officials and emergency responders Monday to see first-hand the damage in Fayetteville caused by severe flooding from Hurricane Matthew.

“Yesterday I saw first-hand the very dangerous conditions that still exist for many people,” said Governor McCrory. “I am extremely proud of our emergency responders on the local, state and federal level, and I am proud of our citizens who are helping each other. I urge people impacted by this storm to take all instructions from local officials. Do not go through standing water. Do not put our first responders at risk in an effort to save you.”  

The greatest threat remains inland flooding that will continue into this week in central and eastern North Carolina. The National Weather Service is forecasting major-river flooding with potential record levels along the Neuse and Tar rivers.

There is major additional flooding predicted for towns and cities along the Lumber and Cape Fear rivers, along with many other rivers and creeks. State officials are monitoring a number of overtopped or breaching dams in central and eastern counties. 

The governor said that resources are in place to respond at identified locations which include ambulance buses, law enforcement, feeding stations, generators, basic neccesities, swift water rescue teams, field hospitals, high water clearance vehicles, National Guard and Ambulance Strike Teams.

To date, more than 2,000 people have been rescued by swift water rescue teams and more are expected throughout the day. People in central and eastern North Carolina remain under a flood watch or warning. 

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

Monday morning, McCrory said nearly 1,500 residents in Lumberton were stranded following a levee break. Some of those people are on their roofs, waiting for help. Helicopters and boats have been deployed to rescue those residents.

Copyright 2016 WBTV. The Associated Press contributed to this article. All rights reserved. 

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