GREENVILLE UPDATE: State of Emergency lifted for city

Published: Oct. 13, 2016 at 8:02 AM EDT
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A State of Emergency for Greenville has been lifted.

Mayor Allen Thomas signed that proclamation Thursday afternoon. It means that all areas of the city, which were previously closed because of flooding, are now open.

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Most residents and businesses in Greenville are now able to return after last week's flooding.

Of the 800 locations inspected by the city, eight have substantial structural damage, while another 37 had water inside them.

Areas still under the evacuation order include Greenville Town Common, the Dockside neighborhood, and areas north of River Drive including the Dog Park and Greenway.

The Greene Street bridges reopened to traffic this afternoon.

The two spans across the Tar River were closed last week because of the flood.

Meanwhile, the Tar River is now out of major flood status.

Wednesday afternoon, the river stood at 18.1 feet and is now in a moderate flood stage. Major flooding occurs at 19 feet.

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The Greene Street bridges reopened to traffic in Greenville Wednesday afternoon.

The two spans across the Tar River were closed last week because of the flood.

Meanwhile, the Tar River is now out of major flood status.

Wednesday afternoon, the river stood at 18.1 feet and is now in a moderate flood stage. Major flooding occurs at 19 feet.

Residents returning to see the damage to their homes say they're feeling blessed it wasn't as bad as they expected. For some other people, it's still a waiting game as their homes are still surrounded by floodwater from the Tar River.

East Carolina students returned to Greenville, after their unexpected extended fall break, to road closures and flood waters..

"It was just wow, shocked, I just couldn't be believe it, when I easily drive my truck down to my house," says Sawyer McGraw, a student that lives at the Dock Side Apartments.

McGraw left October 6th before Matthew's rains flooded the city. He returned nine days later.

His apartment is built on stilts, but he's still flooded out. So he's staying with Brandon Harrison, a block away on Warren Street, which was once surrounded by floodwaters.

"I was worried, I was really worried, cause I put a lot of the couches in there, I was going to be out a couple of a thousand dollars if it got ruined, if it got water in the house," Harrison says.

Jenny Rawls, Harrison's landlord, checked everyday last week on the height of water near her two properties.

"We'd come out here and mark the road the gentleman who lives down here at the end, kind of marked the road, watched it come up and now watching it come back down," she explains.

"I had no idea, I've never had to deal with this before, as soon as I saw the water come up to the porch, I was kind of biting my nails a little bit," Harrison tells WITN.

He was fortunate as the damage was limited.

"More duct work, we're not sure if it hit the bottom of the floor, we don't think it did, just a lot of yard clean up and duct work, HAVC system, just see if that needs to be switched out," says the landlord.

McGraw is hoping for the best, saying "We do have renter's insurance in case anything is messed up, but for now, I just got a good friend letting me stay with them until the water clears up and we can go to our own house."

ECU students returned to classes Tuesday, as well at Pitt County Public Schools, who were on a two hour delay so buses had more time getting around road closures.

"Members and friends of this community that was impacted real strong, we were able to check on some of them and get a lot of them out of harms way," says Pastor Donnie Phillips of the Oak Grace Christian Church. "A lot of our folks assisted them with moving and get some of their important stuff out on Sunday."

Phillips says he remembers the destruction Hurricane Floyd left behind when it hit the church and he is thankful they prepared for the worst this time around.

All areas along Airport Road between Greene Street and Memorial Drive were removed from evacuation zones Monday afternoon and Mayor Allen Thomas says they will continue to work hard to get residents back into their homes.

"Recovery, we have now moved to the next phase in this process as we work to get this community back to a sense of normality as best possible," he says.

Thomas is encouraging residents of Greenville and surrounding areas to join together Saturday for a community cleanup day.

Phillips believes coming together after a tragedy like Hurricane Matthew is really what it is all about.

"This community means a lot to us," says Pastor Phillips. "The Meadowbrook area is dear to our heart and we want to make certain that we are there and be a leader in trying to make sure that we are a part of that clean up."

At highest count, the emergency shelters housed 302 people who had evacuated during the storm. Shelters are still operating at J.H. Rose High School, North Pitt High School and Ayden Grifton High School.

Non-perishable foods and other goods are still being accepted at Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenville and Taft Family Offices in Winterville.

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More residents who were forced from their Greenville homes last week were able to return to them Monday as flood waters continue to drop.

Monday afternoon the city announced that Airport Road, between Memorial Drive and Greene Street, has been removed from the evacuation zone.

The Tar River crested Friday at 24.46 feet. Monday afternoon it's dropped to 21.8 feet. The river is expected to drop out of major flood stage late Tuesday.

Homeowners on Warren Street and Wyndam Circle say flood waters reached the crawl spaces of their houses, damaging duct work.

The Greene Street bridge across the Tar River remains closed, as does the East 10th Street 33 bridge near Oxford Road. Public Works Director Kevin Mulligan says both bridges will need to be inspected before they're allowed to reopen.

Mayor Allen Thomas is scheduled to update the flood situation before tonight's city council meeting.

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The flood water continues to recede in Greenville Sunday, allowing more roads to open across the city. While the Greene Street Bridge remains closed, all other bridges over the Tar River are open. Fifth Street in front of St. Peter Catholic School opened Sunday morning.

Greenville officials say inspectors are preparing to begin assessing the damage in homes and businesses flooded by the Tar River. Inspectors are also looking for any spilled toxins and downed power lines, and they're working together with Greenville Utilities, according to Mayor Allen Thomas.

Mayor Thomas declared Saturday, October 22 as "Community Unity Day" in Greenville. "Let's show everybody else what Greenville is all about as we bounce back in this community," Thomas said in a Sunday morning update posted on Facebook.

Thomas encouraged families, organizations and individuals to plan to help in some way on October 22 in areas that were flooded. It will take a lot of work to clean up the damaged areas. Mayor Thomas said the city would be staging supplies around the flood zone to help with the clean up effort.

Pitt County Schools will be closed Monday. It will be an optional teacher work day.

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WITN is riding along as Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas and Attorney General Roy Cooper tour flooding in Greenville.

The photo on this story is from the Wyndham neighborhood. We will have much more on WITN News at 6.

More areas in the evacuation zone in Greenville are released so people can go home.

Mayor Allen Thomas announced them this morning at a briefing.

The section that been released from the mandatory evacuation zone: All areas south of the Tar River between 1st Street and Willow Street are open as of noon Saturday.

The other areas released yesterday are:

• Santree Mobile Home Park

• Areas north of Pactolus Highway including Country Squire Estates

• Areas north of West Belvoir Road including Paul Drive and Hop Tyson

• Greenfield Terrace neighborhood

• Areas north of Belvoir Highway

• Cypress Glen Retirement Community

Highway 264 near Exit 75 is now open. East fifth Street near St. Peter's Church will probably open Sunday.

Thomas also reminded the public that the 24-hour curfew remains in effect everywhere the mandatory evacuation remains in place.

Attorney General Roy Cooper was in Greenville today and also spoke at the briefing in Greenville. His message was designed to help people avoid scams following the flooding. He also spoke about price gouging.

In recent days, the Attorney General’s Office has warned of numerous consumer problems likely to follow Matthew, including home repair fraud, price gouging, and charity scams. More information is available at> | Facebook | Twitter @NCAGO

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The Tar River has crested in Greenville, according to Mayor Allen Thomas.

Thomas spoke with reporters late this afternoon and said the river crested a little over 24.5 feet.

The mayor says the following areas have been removed from the evacuation zones and can return immediately:

• Santree Mobile Home Park

• Areas north of Pactolus Highway including Country Squire Estates

• Areas north of West Belvoir Road including Paul Drive and Hop Tyson

• Greenfield Terrace neighborhood

• Areas north of Belvoir Highway

• Cypress Glen Retirement Community

Thomas said inspections of homes in the zone began today. That is the first step to allowing people to return home. It's estimated 400-500 homes are impacted.


There is a curfew for unincorporated areas of Pitt County from 7:00 PM – 7:00 AM. Municipalities currently have no curfews except the City of Greenville has a 24 hour curfew for all mandatory evacuation areas.

Due to the closure of the shelter at North Pitt High School located at 5659 NC-11 S, Bethel, the Department of Social Services will not take replacement affidavits for food stamps at this location. They will still take replacement affidavits at the following shelters which are currently open:

· Ayden Middle School, 192 Third Street, Ayden

· Welcome Middle School, 3101 N Memorial Dr., Greenville

· Hope Middle School, 2995 Mills Rd, Greenville

· EB Aycock Middle School, 1325 Red Banks Rd, Greenville

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Mayor Allen Thomas says they expect between 400 and 500 buildings to be impacted by the flooding.

"For the first time, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel," said Thomas. "We can see on that forecast the crest and that it will come down."

The mayor says there are 250-300 people in shelters.

The Tar River is expected to crest at just over 25 feet late Thursday or early Friday. It may stay at or near its crest for a full 24 hours and remain in major flood stage until late Monday or early Tuesday.

More roads are in danger of closing in Greenville and Pitt County as the river level continues to rise. Culverts collapsing under roads have been an issue overnight.

Water was encroaching on Fifth Street in front of St. Peter Catholic School early Thursday morning, with police using barricades to guide drivers around the water. The school is near the Green Springs Park, which is under water.

US 264 Bypass, near exit 75, is closed in both directitons.

A culvert washed out under County Home Road at Edward Farm Road overnight, shutting it down. Another culvert collapsed at Old River Road and NC-222 near Belvoir.