KINSTON (WTVD) —
Chopper 11 HD flew high above the flooding and devastation in Lenoir County on Thursday, showing roads, bridges, homes and businesses now under water.
Storm surge from Hurricane Matthew is causing the Neuse River to rise to historic levels in this area.
The river is expected to crest Friday. Businesses and homes in the flood zone are urged to evacuate.
A citywide curfew was in effect overnight, the Kinston Police Department said for the “safety of our residents and our first responders.”
Betrum Jones and her family are not taking any chances.
They are like hundreds of families who are seeking refuge at Red Cross Shelters in Lenoir County.
“We’ve been through it before but not as bad as this trip,” Jones said.
CLICK HERE FOR HOW YOU CAN DONATE or text NCRECOVERS to 30306
If you have items to donate like water or clothes, dial 211 and someone will direct you
MORE: WANT TO HELP? FOOD BANKS NEED DONATIONS AFTER MATTHEW
Jones and family brought clothes and essentials for a few days, but because they couldn’t afford to move larger items left behind, they are praying the floodwaters won’t touch their home.
“We just come here to try to do the best we can,” Betrum said.
Businesses like Kings BBQ in Kinston are doing the best they can.
The owner, Joseph Hargitt, is packing items into storage that he was able to salvage before Hurricane Matthew’s storm surge hit his restaurant off Highway 70 Thursday morning.
“It’s just mind boggling,” Hargitt said. “There’s actually two feet of water in the restaurant right now. And it wasn’t supposed to get there until this afternoon.”
While Hurricane Matthew is changing the lives of many, Kinston resident and 15-year military veteran Curtis Barrett believes his change was part of God’s plan.
“I’ve lived through Floyd, I’ve lived through Hurricane Hazel, I lived through the Gulf War. I’ve lived through a lot,” Barrett told ABC11. “And I’m blessed to be here to tell the story.”
Barrett is one of hundreds of people across Lenoir County calling a local shelter home for the time being. He feels his military service prepared him for this experience.
“The military takes you through every change that you can possibly think of. High and low,” Barrett said. “You can survive. If you believe in that, you’re a survivor.”
As Barrett awaits what these next few days will bring, he already has plans for what the future holds. He told ABC11 he will finish up his classes at Lenoir Community College and earn a college degree.
CLICK HERE FOR SHELTER INFORMATION
On Thursday, Gov. Pat McCrory said 22 people have died – and the number could grow.
“We are still in the midst of a hurricane in North Carolina.”
He’s urging neighbors in the path of more flooding to evacuate, obey road closures and don’t touch the flood waters because it could be contaminated with waste and debris.
“The saddest thing I’ve seen is today where you see caskets coming out of the ground,” McCrory said.
It’s just another sign that North Carolina is still in a state of emergency.
Reese Winson, 10, of Kinston, describes this historic moment as a tragedy.
“I just feel bad for families and homes and how they are just getting swept away by water and how people are just dying.”
There are 150 National Guard members in Kinston and 50 officers with State Highway Patrol, and members of the Coast Guard to help with emergencies.
The governor says individuals and businesses impacted by the flood will be able to apply for assistance.
Report a Typo
(Copyright ©2016 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.)