Hurricane Matthew swept through the Eastern Carolina area late Saturday night into the early morning hours Sunday, leaving in its wake widespread flooding which National Weather Service Newport/Morehead is calling, “catastrophic,” and “near Hurricane Floyd levels.”
Cedar Point and Swansboro saw heavy flooding while the dunes and sandbags that were reinforcing the northern end of North Topsail Island have been breached.
In Richlands and Beulaville, several roads were closed due to flooding or obstructions.
While the brunt of the Category 1 storm has moved out of the immediate area, rain and gusty winds will stick around during the clean-up efforts Sunday.
According to the National Weather Service, 4-8 inches of rain fell near the coast with 10-12 inches inland.
The area still remains under a hurricane watch, tropical storm warning as well as flash flood warning.
Affected areas include Jacksonville, Richlands and North Topsail, as well as surrounding areas.
Winds out of the north will continue to gust over much of the Eastern Carolina area as Hurricane Matthew continues to retreat off shore. These 50 mph gusts should move off after 9 a.m. Sunday.
Wind of 25-35 mph can be expected throughout the day, with no new expected rainfall.
Gusty conditions coupled with saturated ground have the potential to topple trees and power lines and possibly cause damage to structures.
While officials are urging residents to remain in their homes while clean-up efforts can accessed and organized, they caution those that must leave to avoid driving through flooding and to be vigilant for debris that may be in the roadway, as well as that flying through the air.
Several areas in Jacksonville as well as aboard Camp Lejeune, specifically on New River, have road closures due to downed trees.
Residents that must drive should exercise caution and be prepared to take an alternate route if necessary.
The threat of storm surges is still present, with the potential threats still unknown. Officials are expecting a 3-5 ft. surge around high tide, which could affect already flooded areas.
More than 8,000 people within the Onslow and Pender county areas lost power during the strongest point of Hurricane Matthew late Sunday night.
Residents can expect outages to continue for several hours and plan accordingly because utility workers will be battling flooding as well as high winds to restore service.
Officials should be traveling around to access damages and create plans first thing Sunday morning.