NWS warns of dangerous, life-threatening flooding potential

Forecasters are warning that impacts from Hurricane Matthew could bring the worst flooding to Eastern North Carolina since Hurricane Floyd.

The 6 a.m. briefing from the National Weather Service in Newport, which includes Onslow County in its forecast area, has increased the potential rainfall to 6 to 12 inches with the possibility of up to 15 inches in some area.

The heavy rainfall, high water levels and storm surge increase the potential for flooding and flash floods, according to the NWS.

“This could be the worst flooding seen in Eastern NC since Hurricane Floyd!,” the briefing states. “There is the potential for significant inundation of water that could result in three feet or more across low lying roadways and homes and other buildings on low lying properties being inundated!”

Those in low-lying areas are encouraged to elevate property and move cars to higher ground.

The coastal area up through Carteret County is under a tropical storm watch, with the watch potentially extended further inland and north based on future storm updates.

The NWS warns of the potential for falling trees and lack of access via low-lying roads.

“Heavy rainfall could arrive beginning tonight well ahead of the winds and continue through Sunday,” the briefing states. “River flooding could reach moderate to major levels in the coming days!”

North Topsail Beach is listed as particularly vulnerable to erosion, along with the rest of the Crystal Coast, with the peak erosion impact Saturday night.

The areas most vulnerable for flooding are to the north and east of Onslow County, to include those adjacent to the Southern Pamlico Sound and Neuse and Pamlico Rivers, including portions of Southern Hatteras Island and Ocracoke.

The more northward shift in track indicates sustained tropical storm force winds are more possible along the coast, with gusts as high as 60 mph. The strongest winds would likely be beginning late Saturday, peaking during the day on Sunday along the coast.

“The very saturated ground will increase the potential for downed trees, we expect dangerous impacts with trees falling on buildings and cars and more widespread power outages!,” the briefing states.

The forecast for seas is 10 to 20 feet with conditions on the waters deteriorating rapidly as Matthew approaches.

Officials recommend:

• Moving property to the highest ground possible, especially if you live in low lying areas, especially if close to the sound, rivers, or small creeks.

• Consider relocating to higher ground if you are in a particularly vulnerable

low lying location.

• Avoid travel if at all possible this weekend.

• Complete all preparedness actions today and evacuate if asked to do so.