RALEIGH – Floodwaters are still at record high levels across much of eastern North Carolina and emergency officials are asking evacuated residents to remain in place until local officials announce it is safe to return home. In areas that have been deemed safe for reentry, North Carolina Highway Patrol reminds motorists to use caution when traveling home since many roads remain closed due to high water.
“Even after floodwaters recede, if local roads are impassable, residents will be unable to return,” said North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “It’s essential to first find out if local officials are allowing residents to reenter before heading back home.”
Local governments will typically issue re-entry notification through the local media, their website and social media channels. When returning home, be prepared to show proof of residency and identification to law enforcement.
“The record flooding from Hurricane Matthew means many roadways across the state are still impassable and unsafe,” said North Carolina State Highway Patrol Colonel Bill Grey. “We ask all motorists to obey the barricades. If you can’t see the road, it may not be there.”
To prevent injuries and deaths, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has installed hundreds of traffic barriers along flood-affected roadways. Many of these barriers are not manned by law enforcement officers, but must be obeyed by the public at all times. Never go around a clearly-marked traffic barrier. A barrier indicates that a roadway may still be underwater or may have been washed out.
Not only is attempting to walk or drive around these barriers illegal, it could also lead to serious injury or death. Motorists should also use caution when using navigation systems to travel in areas they are unfamiliar with or to find alternative routes around flooding.
“Do not rely on your GPS to navigate in and around flood-affected roadways,” said Colonel Grey. “Relying on the GPS will result in motorists being re-routed to many primary and secondary routes that are inaccessible due to flood conditions.”
Call 5-1-1 for the latest road conditions or check the ReadyNC mobile app, which also has real-time shelter and evacuation information. Dial 2-1-1 to speak with a trained call specialist about questions you have regarding Hurricane Matthew; the service is free, confidential and available in any language. They can help direct you to resources. For updates on Hurricane Matthew impacts and relief efforts, go to ReadyNC.org or follow N.C. Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook. People or organizations that want to help ensure North Carolina recovers can visit NCdisasterrelief.org or text NCRecovers to 30306.