The town of Princeville in Edgecombe County issued a mandatory evacuation order on Sunday after flooding from Hurricane Matthew, officials said.
“The Princeville Board of Commissioners issued a mandatory evacuation for all citizens due to potential flooding and a 7 p.m. curfew has been set,” town officials said.
More than 450 Princeville residents were living in Red Cross emergency shelters Monday afternoon and they're expecting more by the end of the week.
The Tar River crests at 32 feet and officials are worried that the dykes, that hold 37 feet of water, cannot handle the water Hurricane Matthew dumped on the small town.
To track the river click here.
The Edgecombe Sheriff's Office set up an Emergency Operations Center to monitor water levels. They are in contact with state officials in Raleigh and have swift water rescue crews on standby if the river floods.
The town was completely under water in 1999 after Hurricane Floyd dumped a lot of rain and a dam breach. WFMY News 2's Erica Stapleton talked to people in the town last week about their memories from that flood.
Officials said that they decided to evacuate around 2:20 p.m. Sunday during a town meeting with Edgecombe County officials.
“Torrential rain from Hurricane Matthew on Saturday caused flash flooding throughout the town. Due to the rising water, several citizens in the Southern Terrace and Lone Pine communities were evacuated and early Sunday morning the town issued a voluntary evacuation,” officials said in a statement.
Authorities also said that Edgecombe County deputies went house-to-house in Princeville issuing the warning.
“Heavy traffic throughout the town appeared to be evidence that many of the citizens were heeding to the warning,” officials said.
The National Weather Service outlined the threat to Princeville in a flood warning.
“Moderate flooding is occurring and major flooding is forecast,” the weather service said.
The river will continue rising to near 35.8 feet early Tuesday morning, forecasters said.
The river reached 26.6 feet during Hurricane Fran more than 20 years ago.
Here are the various impacts the weather service forecasts from various river levels:
At 34.6 feet, water reaches the base of the Princeville dike.
At 33.6 feet, this is the elevation of the Railroad bed which cuts through the Princeville dike. The emergency gate must be manually installed to prevent water from flowing into the town of
At 32.0 feet, major flood stage. Baker and St James street begin to flood.
At 24.0 feet, moderate flooding begins in Tarboro. River Road is underwater and flooding begins on East Wilson and St David
At 37.0 feet, failure may be expected at the Princeville dike and flooding begins in the town of Princeville.
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