Lee County and its neighbors have taken a beating not from the wind, but the rainfall amounts now two days into Hurriane Florence’s inland crawl. With no end in sight over the next 24 hours, local communities are bracing for “catastrophic” flooding, and residents living near the Cape Fear River and Little River are being told to leave their homes for higher and dryer ground.
Lee County is still projected to receive up to 15 inches of rain before the weekend is over. The county remains under a flash flood watch, and several communities are experiencing street flooding and rising water levels in ponds and small lakes.
At least 11 people have died as a result of Florence, CNN reports. Nearly 800,000 people in North Carolina alone have lost power during the storm, including more than 6,000 homes in Lee County. Florence will finally leave the state sometime Monday, but some communities could be underwater for days, if not weeks, according to Accuweather.
The Carolina Trace community is on alert for potential major flooding as state officials monitor Morris Pond off Swann Station Road, which is upstream from Lake Trace.
In response to online rumors that a dam had broken, the Carolina Trace Association’s Facebook page has updated twice today with information on the dam. “There are sections of N.C. 87 that may be at risk, and the SPA Gatehose is on alert,” the Association posted around 7 p.m. Saturday. “The dam has not broken, but there is a risk.” The CTA also reported flooding in two areas of the gated community, located just south of Sanford.
Cape Fear River | Little River
Evacuations have been ordered for communities near the Cape Fear River and Little River, the Fayetteville Observer has reported.
Leaders in Cumberland County held a news conference Saturday to ask residents to take the threat seriously and prepare to leave their homes at once. Portions of the river near Fayetteville and to the southeast have already risen to dangerous levels.
Residents near the Cape Fear in Harnett County are NOT being asked to evacuate at this time, but are encouraged to do so if they feel uncomfortable remaining in their homes.
The Little River area includes portions of southwestern Harnett County to N.C. 87 in Spring Lake (less than 20 miles south of Carolina Trace). The river is expected to crest at 35 feet, 17 feet above its flood stage and more than 6 feet over its record level of 29 feet from Hurricane Matthew.
In an effort to accommodate evacuees who do not have another place to go, Harnett County will open Western Harnett High School as an emergency shelter at noon today. Evacuees may also go to shelters at Overhills High School at 2495 Ray Road, Spring Lake, or Coats-Erwin Middle School at 2833 N.C. 55, Dunn.