New Bern Rescues All Stranded Residents from Florence's Floodwaters, City Says

Pam Wright
Published: September 15, 2018

Three days of rescues have successfully been completed in an eastern North Carolina town that felt the full effects of Hurricane Florence's flooding.

The announcement came in a tweet Saturday afternoon from the city of New Bern. An estimated 500 people were rescued from their homes in the city as floodwaters rose Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

As the 10-foot storm surge seized the city overnight Thursday and into Friday morning, more than 1,200 emergency calls came in during a 12-hour span, a city official told the Associated Press.

(MORE: Hurricane Florence Assaults North Carolina)

An estimated 4,300 homes and 300 businesses were damaged, although that number is expected to increase, the report added.

New Bern, a city of about 30,000 residents, saw significant storm surge flooding as the rivers overflowed their banks and swept into town. A flash flood emergency was declared in the area that includes Carteret, Craven, Pamlico and Jones counties Friday morning.


Two teams from the Federal Emergency Management Administration, along with Craven County emergency crews, were using boats to rescue people from their homes and vehicles, the AP reported.

New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw told The Weather Channel that about 16 county crews were out rescuing those who had refused to heed evacuation warnings and became stranded.

"We haven't had a storm like this in years," he said. "It's hard to convince some folks [to leave]."

Craven County spokeswoman Amber Parker told the Durham Herald-Sun the rescues began around 4 p.m. Thursday. She added that water in some places surpassed mailboxes and had reached the second story of homes in low-lying areas.

"This storm has been hovering over us for a while, and we expect it to continue to hover over us," she said. "Lots of water, lots of wind, lots of storm surge."

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