VIDEO: Hurricane floodwaters expected to ravage North Carolina

Hurricane Matthew has vanished from the coast, but its aftermath is expected to worsen in North Carolina.
A man is shown holding on to a yield sign after trying to swim out to help a stranded truck driver at U.S. 301 and Tom Starling Road in Hope Mills, N.C., on Sunday. Both people were rescued. Fayetteville Observer photo by Andrew Craft.

A man is shown holding on to a yield sign after trying to swim out to help a stranded truck driver at U.S. 301 and Tom Starling Road in Hope Mills, N.C., on Sunday. Both people were rescued. Fayetteville Observer photo by Andrew Craft.

Hurricane Matthew has vanished from the coast, but its aftermath is expected to worsen in North Carolina, where floodwaters were expected to continue to rise this week.

The storm weakened to a post-tropical cyclone on Sunday, but was considered to be just as dangerous as when it trudged up Florida’s coast, flooding St. Augustine and towns in Georgia and the Carolinas.

In St. Augustine, Waylen Bay Marine “thankfully fared pretty well,” manager Eric Conroy told Trade Only Today this morning.

“We obviously lost power, and we have one building where part of the roof is missing — one of our new locations” on U.S. 1, closer to the Intracoastal Waterway, Conroy said.

“It’s a major investment, and we do work out of there, and when you can’t work, you’re losing money,” Conroy said.

Conroy had a large group of visitors in the showroom this morning that he had to go and help, so people were at least going out to shop for boats.

The storm wreaked havoc in Haiti, where the death toll climbed to more than 1,000 during the weekend, according to Al Jazeera, and 90 percent of portions of the impoverished nation were destroyed, according to the BBC. The storm also flattened communities and wrecked agriculture in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas.

Record-breaking floods occurred in North Carolina after Matthew dumped extreme amounts of rain on eastern parts of the state.

Though the rain ended Sunday and the weather should remain dry for many days ahead, rivers will still be rising in some locations or remain high. That could lead to additional record flooding at some gauges, according to The Weather Channel.

In some cases, the flooding rivals that of Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

This flooding is the result of 6 to 16 inches of rain that fell in eastern North Carolina from Matthew. The top total was 15.65 inches at William O Huske Lock 3, followed by 14.82 inches in Fayetteville.

A.K. McCallum Co., in hard-hit Fayetteville, did not lose power and was operating mostly as usual on Monday, general manager Michael Baggett told Trade Only Today. He said three employees couldn’t make it to work because there are many washed-out bridges and roads.

“We had a load of boats coming in today, so we had to open up,” Baggett said. “If we hadn’t, we may not have.”

“It’s definitely bad. I lost my power at around 10 on Saturday and got it back at 5 and kept it, but most of the people here still don’t have electricity,” Baggett said. "It could be three to five days to get it back. I’m not downplaying [Matthew], but where we are, we’re fine.”

Baggett said many Fayetteville residents lost homes, but did not have flood insurance. “We’ve never seen anything like this before,” he said.

On Saturday the dealership sold a new 20-hp motor and some life jackets to the Fayetteville Fire Department, and Baggett thought that perhaps people would want to buy boats for rescues today.

“They said they had six inflatable boats they were going to be using,” he said. “I think it’s been quiet because a lot of people [from neighboring towns] came to help out since we were harder-hit than most places. There are still a lot of trees and power lines down, and a lot of bridges and overpasses that got washed out, so it’s going to take a lot of time to get these roads back up.”

If the day continued to be as slow as it was this morning, Baggett said he would call it a day. “I figure if people are coming to buy boats for rescues, they would do it sooner rather than later.”

Shelley Tubaugh, marketing vice president of Grady-White Boats in Greenville, N.C., said eastern North Carolina had about 7-1/2 inches of rain from Matthew.

“Our biggest issue is flooding, as the inland flow hits our already swollen creeks and rivers,” she said. "Our extended team has fared well, are safe with no critical losses as of now.

“The Grady-White facility is in an area of Pitt County that has been given mandatory evacuation. Essential staff has gone in to assess things and do necessary tasks, but the factory was closed today.

“Many people are without power, and roads are closed due to flooding. This will continue for a few days, according to reports coming out now. We are thankful that there are only minor issues to deal with by comparison to others who the storm impacted further south. We will take it day by day to make decisions regarding the plant reopening.”

The storm killed at least 19 in the United States, nine of them in North Carolina. That number was expected to rise with floodwaters, according to CBS News.

Thousands of people found themselves suddenly trapped in homes or cars during the torrential rains, CBS reported.

Rescuers in Coast Guard helicopters plucked some people and pets from rooftops and used military vehicles to reach others, including a woman who held on to a tree for three hours after floodwaters overran her car.

Videos such as this one, depicting rescues of people stranded in cars and on homes, circulated Sunday on social media.

More than a million homes and businesses in South Carolina and North Carolina were without power, and at least four sections of I-95 — the main artery linking the East Coast from Florida to Maine — were closed in North Carolina. Earlier closings in Georgia were canceled by this morning. Some customers could be in the dark for a week in North Carolina, according to CBS Raleigh affiliate WNCN-TV.

“Our city is just not equipped to handle such mass destruction,” Fayetteville resident Tifany Robinson Williams told Trade Only Today on Sunday. “Even the military base has road closures. My girlfriend is without power. She put a claim in with her insurance company for loss of food. She can't get out of her town to come to my house for a reprieve. I drove to four gas stations before I could find gas. Not raining, sun is shining, but still very chaotic.”

Facebook video (click here and here) showed parts of major roads washed away, and the situation continued to deteriorate through Saturday night, Williams said.

According to The National Weather Service, the Tar River in Greenville, N.C., could reach its second-highest crest on record, and its highest crest since Hurricane Floyd (29.7 feet) by the middle of this week.

Fayetteville Today Community News showed flooding Sunday on Highway 301.

Fayetteville Today Community News showed flooding Sunday on Highway 301.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott took an aerial tour of Duval County and surveyed damage to a beach near Jacksonville, according to CNN.

Scott said the damage he saw — beach erosion and washed-out roads — was "unbelievable," but he was relieved that Matthew stayed largely off Florida's shores.

"If it had a direct-impact hit, it would have been a lot worse for our families," he told CNN affiliate WJAX.

Scott said about 132,000 homes are without power, but the cleanup was proceeding quickly in areas hit by the storm. His goal was to get most schools and businesses open on Monday, he said.

During the hurricane stormwater rushed through streets, making roads look more like rivers in parts of Jacksonville, Merritt Island, Fleming Island and other Florida communities.

Florida struggled with the rising water, rain and strong winds. Meteorologists said the storm surge was more than 4 feet in some areas.

Part of the Jacksonville Beach Pier washed away Friday morning, according to CNN affiliate WFOX/WJAX. The original pier was washed away during Hurricane Floyd and rebuilt a few years later, the station said.

“The storm stayed far enough offshore so all we saw here was strong tropical-storm winds — 50 to 60 mph — and a lot of rain,” Joe Lewis of Mount Dora Boating Center and Marina in Mount Dora, Fla., told Trade Only Today. “Had it turned out differently, we were ready. We planned for the worst by putting anything that moves away.”

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Sunday that evacuation orders had been lifted in Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley and Colleton counties. But evacuation orders remained in Beaufort, Georgetown, Horry and Jasper counties on Sunday.


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