Governor Roy Cooper is re-routing interstate traffic around North Carolina. Floodwaters are rising, and roads that have never flooded before are now at risk. The death toll from Florence has reached 14, and the coastal city of Wilmington is essentially cut off from the rest of the state.
All main roads leading into this port city are now impassable. Rivers continue to rise and rain continues to fall as local and state officials urge people to stay off the roads - - so utility crews and emergency responders can get through. They also warn the risk of life-threatening flash-flooding is rising with the river.
But staying inside is a struggle for local residents. At the few open businesses – which have included a grocery store and the Waffle House, lines stretched into the parking lots.
Emergency officials are frustrated; one local county spokesperson sent a press release shouting, “STAY OFF THE ROADS” in all caps.