LUMBERTON, N.C. — As North Carolina struggles with the deadly aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, forecasters Wednesday warned that rain-fed waters were still on the rise in some areas – with at least one river expected to crest this weekend at nearly double the flood stage.

The swollen Neuse River – cutting through coastal flatlands south of Greenville – underscores the flood threats facing parts of the state for the coming days even as rescue teams try to move people out of danger and utility crews work to restore power to nearly 200,000 customers.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, R, said storm-related deaths now stand at 19 across the state, and he again called for full-scale evacuation from threatened areas. Among them: the valley below Wood Lake Dam, about 20 miles northwest of Fayetteville, which has been reinforced but remains in danger of failing. “We’ve had too many deaths,” said McCrory.

The National Weather Service predicted that the Neuse was moving toward “dangerous flooding levels” of near 27.5 feet by early Saturday near the town of Kinston before starting to fall. The rise – already above the 14-foot flood stage in the area – is forecast to top the spillover from destructive Hurricane Floyd 17 years ago.

In Princeville – a town that was submerged by flooding after Hurricane Floyd in 1999 – the swollen Tar River is threatening the low-lying town.

Officials in Edgecombe County say they believe Princeville will escape without major damage, but water began entering one section of the town on Wednesday morning.


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