Lenoir County officials warn of potential major flooding

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KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Lenoir County government officials are advising residents to remain vigilant as the Neuse River continues to rise following recent heavy rainfall that has occurred in the past few days.

“There may be some roads that’s gonna be blocked. Especially if you’re a homeowner in a low-lying area, that your home might be flooded,” said Lenoir County Manager Bryan Hanks.

Hanks also said they’re working to prepare people along the Neuse River for what could come their way.

Officials project the river to hit 21.9 feet, which is considered a “major flood stage”, sometime between Wednesday and Thursday. Additional rises above that projection are possible.

As of Sunday, the river was at 12.5 feet; it had risen to 19.23 feet.

“Residents should be aware of potential major flooding in Lenoir County next week,” said Jerri King, Lenoir County Emergency Services Director. “With models predicting the river continuing to rise, county residents should be knowledgeable and prepared about the situation.”

Flooding is predicted in low-lying areas that border the Neuse River in Lenoir County, including, but not limited to the Old Asphalt Road area and the Neuse Nature Center.

The Neuse Nature Center is located in Kinston, and Mayor Don Hardy feels they’ll be able to combat any major flooding issues.

“The city of Kinston is resilient. We always come out on top for sure. We’ll do what we have to do to come out on top, and to make it happen,” said Hardy.

Lenoir County Sheriff Ronnie Ingram reminded residents to never attempt to drive through standing water.

“At no time should residents think they can drive across roadways that are covered in floodwaters,” Ingram said. “Drivers have no idea how deep the water could be that covers a roadway. Residents need to remember to ‘turn around, don’t drown.’”

The sheriff also reminded residents to not drive around barricades that have been set up to block roadways that have been flooded.

“You are breaking the law when you move or drive around a barricade,” Ingram said.

As the river continues to rise over the next few days, King and Ingram advised residents to visit their respective departments’ Facebook pages for more information. Residents can also visit fiman.nc.gov, On the webpage, people can local their respective locations on the map and check the different flood levels depending on how high the river is at that time.

Additionally, county residents can sign up for the free Swift911 message notification system on their smartphones, tablets and computers. Swift911 is a high‐speed emergency notification system that alerts residents to emergency situations such as severe storm warnings, road closures, evacuations and others deemed necessary by public officials. Visit Lenoir County Emergency Services on Facebook for more information about signing up for Swift911.

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