Threat of more flooding grows for Hurricane Matthew survivors

KINSTON, N.C. — The threat of more flooding is growing for survivors still struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

Governor Pat McCrory said Thursday morning that there are signs of progress days after the storm, but there is still a long road to recovery.

“People are hurting and we want to do everything we can to help them and we're going to do just that,” McCrory said.

The governor said there have not been any more deaths, leaving the total at 20. There are now 5,500 power outages -- down from 900,000 -- and $2.6 million in federal aid has already been dispersed to survivors.

Rivers in eastern North Carolina are expected to crest in the next 24 hours, threatening major damage to small towns.

Channel 9 reporter Ken Lemon is in Kinston, where the Neuse River is expected to crest at above-record levels

Troopers are turning people around on Highway 70, detouring them because the road is flooded about a mile down.

Lemon walked down as close as he could get, and saw the standing water on the highway and orange barrels meant to keep people from driving there -- some of those barrels underwater.

The problem in that area is from flood waters pouring into the Nuese River and flowing down stream.

James Sutton's home was threatened by rising waters on Thursday in Kinston.

"To actually be standing right here witnessing with my own eyes, is very strange," he said.

The street in front of his house turned into part of the Neuse River.

The river normally creeps slowly more than a block-and-half away is now yards from his front door.

One of his relatives said that two hours before reporter Ken Lemon arrived, the water was at the lowest level of the steps in front of the home.

"But now I know yeah we got to go," Sutton said.

Felicia Lawson also made the decision to leave.

"It’s really real now,” Lawson said. “I really see it."

She was forced to evacuate from her apartment on Tuesday as the river crept into her backyard, but she still didn't understand the danger until she saw the Neuse River Thursday.

“A lot of people didn't take a lot of stuff seriously," Lawson said.

She and several other people said the water levels are higher now than they were when Hurricane Floyd flooded the city in 1999.

"This is a tragedy you know, for some people," Lawson said.

Lemon stopped upstream in Goldsboro, where the flooding is going down, but the damage is still severe.

People in Kinston know that water is coming and could create flooding even more severe than Hurricane Floyd that blasted the region in 1999.

“It's very heartbreaking,” said Ashely Eltelbanty. “I was here back in 1999 when Floyd came and to see it tear Kinston apart again, it's very heartbreaking.”

Emergency management officials told Channel 9 that they expect the river to crest on Friday, and have already evacuated some homes in low-lying areas.

They hope it's enough to get everyone out of harms’ way.

CMPD deploys Animal Control emergency team to hard-hit areas

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is sending its Animal Control Emergency Response Team to the areas hit hard by the flooding.

The seven-member team deployed Thursday morning to Edgecombe County.

The animal shelter there is past capacity, with up to 200 animals after the hurricane.

The team may also need to rescue horses when the flooding recedes.

They were last deployed in 2011 for Hurricane Irene.