Floods Prompt State of Emergency in North Carolina

April 28, 2017

A North Carolina county declared a state of emergency Wednesday because flooding closed a number of roads and led to evacuations.

Edgecombe County officials announced on Facebook that several roads are impassable and that residents on one road outside the town of Pinetops have been evacuated. The county reported nine state roads closed, most near Pinetops and Rocky Mount.

According to the county, the Tar River continues to rise, although it hasn’t reached its peak. The National Weather Service says the river is expected to crest Friday at 31.7 feet. By comparison, the river reached 36.2 feet after Hurricane Matthew last October.

An emergency shelter has been opened for people affected by the flooding.

On the North Carolina coast, Brunswick County schools spokeswoman Jessica Swencki said in an email that a bus driver was fired hours after she drove through pooled water with three students on board Tuesday. Dozens of roads were flooded across the state after several days of heavy rains.

Swencki said Marsha McMillian ignored barricades on the road that’s part of her route. All students on her bus made it to school safely.

Witness Bruce Felker recorded video of the bus driving through the pooled water that splashed around its tires. Felker told WECT-TV there’s no excuse for the driver’s actions when students are involved.

The heavy rains have also caused wastewater and sewage to spill into North Carolina creeks.

News outlets report that around 85,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into Boyd Creek from Boyd Creek Pump Station in Graham on Monday, while 10,000 gallons of wastewater spilled in Newton the same day with 3,000 gallons reaching McLin Creek.

Graham City Manager Frankie Maness says rainfall overwhelmed the lift station, which has spilled around 800,000 gallons of sewage since September. Plans to replace the station are underway and will cost more than $2 million.

In Newton, Public Information Officer Alex Frick says the rains caused overflow at manholes. The city has recorded three other significant overflows at that location in the past two years.

The North Carolina Division of Water Resources is reviewing both incidents.

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