North Carolina braces for more flood­ing

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Jonathan Drew and Emery P. Dale­sio

GREENVILLE, N.C. >> A state trooper shot and killed an armed man dur­ing a search for flood vic­tims in a tense and dispir­ited North Carolina, and thou­sands more peo­ple were or­dered to evac­u­ate as high wa­ter from Hur­ri­cane Matthew pushed down­stream Tues­day, two days after the storm blew out to sea.

Matthew’s death toll in the U.S. climbed to 33, more than half of them in North Carolina, in ad­di­tion to the more than 500 feared dead in Haiti.

In Greenville, a city of 90,000, of­fi­cials warned that the Tar River would over­whelm ev­ery bridge in the county by sun­down, split­ting it in half be­fore the river crests late Wed­nes­day. Evac­u­a­tions were or­dered there and in such com­mu­ni­ties as Golds­boro and Kin­ston, as rivers swelled to some of the high­est lev­els ever recorded.

Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple, some of them as much as 125 miles in­land, have been warned to move to higher ground since the hur­ri­cane drenched the state with more than a foot of rain over the week­end dur­ing a run up the East Coast from Florida.

An an­gry Gov. Pat McCrory asked peo­ple to stop ig­nor­ing evac­u­a­tion or­ders and driv­ing around bar­ri­cades on flooded roads: “That is un­ac­cept­able. You are not only putting your life dan­ger, you are putting emer­gency re­spon­ders’ lives in jeop­ardy.”

In the hard-hit town of Lum­ber­ton, along the bloated Lum­ber River, spo­radic loot­ing was re­ported, and a North Carolina trooper searching for peo­ple trapped by the flood­wa­ters killed a man who con­fronted of­fi­cers with a gun Mon­day night, po­lice said.

Authorities gave few de­tails, but McCrory said the shoot­ing hap­pened in “very dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances,” adding: “Ten­sion can be high when peo­ple are go­ing through very, very emo­tional cir­cum­stances.”

In Lum­ber­ton, pa­tience was wear­ing thin.

Ada Page, 74, spent two nights sleep­ing in a hard plas­tic fold­ing chair at a shel­ter put to­gether so hastily there were no cots and peo­ple had to walk out­side in the back to use por­ta­ble toi­lets. She com­plained she didn’t even have her chil­dren’s tele­phone num­bers with her.

“I left at home all my clothes, ev­ery­thing. The only thing I have is this child and what I was driv­ing,” said Page, who was with the 8-year-old grand­daugh­ter she takes care of.

The full ex­tent of the disaster in North Carolina was still un­clear, but it ap­peared that thou­sands of homes were dam­aged. Many likened Matthew to Hur­ri­cane Floyd, which did $3 bil­lion in dam­age and de­stroyed 7,000 homes in North Carolina as it skirted the state’s coast in 1999.

McCrory said thou­sands of an­i­mals drowned, mostly chick­ens on poul­try farms, and he was de­cid­ing how to dis­pose of the car­casses safely.

MIKE SPENCER — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A swift wa­ter res­cue team down a street cov­ered by flood­wa­ters caused by rain from Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Lum­ber­ton, N.C., Mon­day.

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