09/08/08 — Hanna leaves flooding, but not here

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Hanna leaves flooding, but not here

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on September 8, 2008 1:39 PM

Although Gov. Mike Easley cautioned North Carolina residents Sunday about possible flooding from the rains of Tropical Storm Hanna, the water levels in Wayne County might be higher than normal, but are nothing to worry about, officials say.

The Neuse River, Goldsboro's main water source, was expected to see increased levels after heavy rainfall into the river near Raleigh Saturday rushed southeast to Wayne County.

And as of now, county and city officials don't expect the water to be a problem, but are monitoring the situation just in case.

Joe Gurley, county Emergency Services Director, said that the gauge of the Neuse River at Smithfield is reporting flooding, but added that he doesn't foresee any flooding in this area.

Still, he is waiting for reports as the rush of water nears the county.

Goldsboro General Services Director Neil Bartlett isn't too worried either.

"The Neuse is supposed to crest at about 10 feet," said. "Flood level is 18 feet. So I'm really not concerned with anything at this point."

The river measured 10.45 feet in Goldsboro around 7:15 this morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's Web site, a mark that was up from about 4 feet on Saturday.

Stoney Creek, Bartlett added, is back down within its banks, so it is even less of a concern than the Neuse.

A statement from the governor's office said major flooding is occurring in Raeford but is not affecting homes or businesses. Officials said there also was minor flooding in Smithfield, Clayton and Manchester near Pope Air Force Base.

The Neuse River at Smithfield was expected to crest about 5 feet above flood stage at 2 this morning.

"Everyone needs to know that currents are still strong and hazardous in many areas," Easley said. "Please continue to be careful when driving and stay off flooded roads."

Six people canoeing Saturday night on the Haw River in Chatham County were dumped into the river when the canoe overturned. Local authorities rescued four people, while the other two spent the night on an island in the river. They were rescued Sunday morning after the waters receded.

Easley said there have been no reports of major injuries or fatalities related to the storm. Damage assessment teams will begin taking inventory of the damage immediately. State emergency officials are also monitoring conditions in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico to determine if North Carolina will be affected from other storms.

The National Weather Service reported 5.19 inches of rain at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, 4.62 inches in Fayetteville and 5.74 inches in Laurinburg. Rocky Mount received 2.57 inches.

The governor's office said at the height of Hanna's run through the state, there were nearly 60,000 homes without power. There were 49 shelters open in 24 counties that served about 1,900 people, according to the governor's office. By Sunday morning, power had been restored to all but 3,000 homes, but most of those outages were not storm related. All of the shelters are now closed.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.