Gov. Pat McCrory provided an update on the impact of Hurricane Matthew and discussed how the state is well prepared to respond to the storm’s devastation.
“Our state continues to make progress responding to the devastation from Hurricane Matthew but dangerous conditions persist,” said Governor McCrory. “We will continue doing everything possible to fight for all available resources to help people recover.”
The greatest threat remains inland flooding that will continue into this week in central and eastern North Carolina. The governor highlighted that the Tar River near Greenville will crest tomorrow and the Neuse River near Kinston will crest on Saturday. There is also major additional flooding predicted for towns and cities along the Lumber and Cape Fear rivers, along with many other rivers and creeks.
Contrary to previous reports, the mandatory evacuation is still in effect in Moore County for residents near Woodlake Dam. Evacuations are also in place in several other counties.
There have now been 18 confirmed weather-related fatalities and one person still reported as missing. Four additional fatalities were confirmed today, one in Columbus County, one in Wayne County and two more in Robeson County.
Tuesday, Gov. McCrory activated the state’s Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund to support long-term recovery efforts in partnership with the United Way of North Carolina. People and organizations that want to help ensure North Carolina recovers can visit ncdisasterrelief.org or text NCRecovers to 30306.
Numerous major interstates and roads, as well as hundreds of secondary roads remain closed. However Governor McCrory announced that a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 95 in Harnett and Cumberland counties has reopened.
This section of interstate had been closed since Sunday when water from the Black River covered the highway. A section of I-95 near Lumberton between exits 13 and 31 remains closed due to flooding from the Lumber River, yet a detour is in place to reroute traffic around the closure.
The latest updates on road closures can be found at ReadyNC.org, the ReadyNC mobile app or by calling 5-1-1.
Power outages across the state continue to fall. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, power outages totaled approximately 198,000 statewide, down from more than 800,000 on Sunday.
In response to the governor’s call to extend the deadline for filing taxes, individuals or businesses in some of the most impacted counties that have a tax filing deadline on October 17th or 20th will not be penalized for filing or paying late.
The governor warned of the continued environmental concerns related to the agriculture industry. The state Department of Environmental Quality has instructed all lined landfills that they can accept swine, poultry and other animals that have been impacted by Hurricane Matthew. The department has also waived boundary restrictions regarding landfills to mitigate the environmental impact.
The federal assistance approved to date will help reimburse the state for recovery efforts. In most cases, the federal government will cover 75 percent of the costs and the state will cover the remaining 25 percent of costs of responding to the disaster.
Under Governor McCrory’s leadership, North Carolina has sufficient reserve funds, including more than $18 million in disaster relief funding. The State Budget Office and emergency management officials do not expect those funds to be exhausted before early 2017.
The governor mentioned that if needed, the state’s rainy day fund is at an all-time high of $1.6 billion. Governor McCrory does not anticipate needing to call back the General Assembly to address relief funding ahead of their regular long session in January.
During Hurricane Floyd, North Carolina was impacted in mid-September of 1999 and a special session for hurricane recovery did not occur until mid-December 1999.
Governor McCrory clarified that he requested federal assistance for individuals, state and local governments for 66 counties. Yesterday, 10 counties were approved for individual federal assistance and 31 counties were approved for public federal assistance. The governor said he is particularly concerned about securing help for those in Sampson, Harnett, Bertie, Johnston, Wilson and Wayne counties.
For more information about responding to a hurricane and what to do before, during or after a storm, go to ReadyNC.org. You can also get real-time traffic and weather updates on the ReadyNC mobile app. Follow N.C. Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook for the latest on Hurricane Matthew.