RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As flood waters continue to rise across North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper said the worst may be yet to come for some in the state.
Cooper called Hurricane Florence and its aftermath a “monumental disaster” for North Carolina.
“This is an epic storm that is still continuing because the rivers are rising in certain parts of our state. Some areas have not seen the worst flooding yet,” he said.
Areas like Fayetteville and Lumberton are experiencing heavy flooding as rivers rise due to prolonged rains dropped by the slow-moving storm.
“We are going to have be smart about our recovery and about our long-range planning. When you have two 500-year floods within two years of each other, it’s pretty clear it’s not a 500-year flood,” Cooper said.
Many of the areas affected by Florence also suffered after Hurricane Matthew caused flooding in October 2016.
CBS News is reporting at least 23 people are dead in North and South Carolina due to Florence.
Around 1,100 roads remained closed across the state, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Cooper said a big problem right now is people driving around barricades on closed roads.
The governor urged everyone to stay home or at shelters:
“Don’t make yourself someone that needs to be rescued. Stay off the roads,” Cooper said.
Wilmington is still inaccessible by land while large sections of Interstate-95 and 40 remains flooded.
“As we approach recovery, both short and long-term, we have to be smart,” Cooper said. “We are going to need significant resources to recover, there’s no question about that. People need help immediately, but our immediate concern is pulling people out of water and keeping them safe.”