State officials say most rivers and creeks are now starting to recede and conditions to improve.
However, they remind people some roads are still flooded and to avoid driving in areas with standing water.
State officials also stress several rivers have not yet crested and emergency officials are keeping a close eye on those areas. The Lumber River near Lumberton is close to a major flood stage and is expected to crest tonight. The northeast Cape Fear River near Burgaw remains at moderate to major flood stage and should crest tonight, as well.
State swift water rescue teams, NC National Guard, State Highway Patrol and U.S. Coast Guard teams have rescued more than 250 people from flooded houses and cars since Eastern Carolina received between five and 23 inches of rain.
Four state swift water rescue teams have been working almost around the clock since late Thursday. Most of the rescues were made in Bertie County, but crews also were working in Beaufort, Craven, Hertford and Pender counties.
In the past week, much of Eastern North Carolina has experienced flood levels not seen since Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
Initial reports indicate Bertie County sustained the most damage.
Much of the town of Windsor is underwater and expected to remain so for several days. More than 40 residents were evacuated from a Windsor nursing home Friday. In addition, partial evacuations were issued for Bertie, Beaufort, Craven, Duplin and Pender counties to get people in low-lying areas to safety. Four shelters remain open with 35 residents.
Approximately 50 homes and businesses are still without power, down from a peak outage of 70,000 yesterday.
Seven storm-related fatalities have been reported; all were the result of vehicle crashes. Four family members died after their vehicle hydroplaned in Washington County, one fatality was reported in Pamlico County and two more were reported in Dare County.
All interstates remain open, but the N.C. Department of Transportation reports that dozens of roads and bridges remain closed throughout eastern North Carolina. U.S 17 is closed in several locations including south of Windsor in Bertie County, south of Maysville in Jones County and north of Jacksonville in Onslow County. Also, portions of U.S. 158 near Winton and U.S. 13 south of Ahoskie in Hertford County also closed. Several N.C. routes are closed as well, including: NC 133 near Belville, NC 50 east of Wallace, NC 561 near Harrelsville and east of Ahoskie, NC 111 southwest of Jacksonville, NC 172 near Swansboro, NC 50 near Holly Ridge and NC 32 west of Creswell.
Governor Bev Perdue declared a state of emergency late Wednesday in anticipation of flood damages in central and eastern counties. The declaration allowed the governor to mobilize state emergency and protective measures such as the use of the N.C. National Guard, State Highway Patrol, N.C.
Department of Transportation, opening shelters and providing other resources as needed.
Local emergency management crews will conduct initial damage assessments today and tomorrow and submit their estimates to N.C. Emergency Management. Early estimates indicate more than 260 homes and businesses have been flooded. Agricultural damage estimates in Duplin County alone are expected to exceed $1 million.
State and federal damage assessment teams will work with the local crews beginning Tuesday to conduct more thorough damage assessments for all counties impacted by the recent rains and flooding. More definitive damage estimate totals are expected to be completed late next week.
Residents and business owners who have incurred damage from this week’s floods should contact their insurance company.
Uninsured residents and business owners should contact their county emergency management office.
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