Public officials in the Carolinas are issuing stark warnings and pleas for public safety as the region deals with major flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew.
Matthew continues to wreak havoc along the Carolinas by pounding the coast with damaging winds inundating storm surge and heavy rains. However, effects from the storm reached as far inland as Raleigh, North Carolina and Columbia, South Carolina.
The severe flooding has claimed at least three lives in North Carolina, bringing the Matthew-related death toll to 10 in the United States.
Damage reports included trees toppling onto homes, downed power lines, floodwaters washing out roads and significant beach erosion.
"The worst case scenario appears to be coming true as Hurricane Matthew has become a deadly storm in North Carolina," said North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory. "Our team will continue to shift resources, including National Guard troops, State Highway Patrol troopers and swift water rescue teams, to assist the impacted communities. I cannot stress enough for everyone to stay off the roads and sidewalks as there are deadly conditions from Fayetteville, the Triangle and east as a result of severe flooding." he said.
The unrelenting rain caused river levels across North Carolina and South Carolina to rise rapidly, some of which reached major flood stage.
Water levels in North Carolina may exceed record level, climbing higher than what was seen during Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
McCory said he was particularly concerned about major inland river flooding, noting that some of the worst damage from Hurricane Floyd came when the rivers crested days after the storm.
Fayetteville, North Carolina, received nearly 9 inches of rain in a six-hour period, almost triple of what they typically receive in all of October.
Extensive power outages were reported with 369,000 without power in North Carolina, while over 830,000 suffered outages in South Carolina. Most of the outages in South Carolina were along the coast.
South Carolina officials were also worried about the looming threat for rising rivers in the coming days.
Expect some SC rivers - Black, Edisto, Pee Dee, Maccamaw and Lynches - to crest 3 to 5 feet above flood stage next week. #Matthew #sctweets— SCEMD (@SCEMD) October 8, 2016
At peak intensity, Matthew was a Category 5 hurricane, but by the time it moved into the Carolinas it was a weakening Category 2 with sustained winds under 111 mph. The storm made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane early Saturday morning just southeast of McClellanville, South Carolina.
As flooding worsened throughout the lowcountry of South Carolina, the South Carolina National Guard was called to assist with a life-saving mission. Approximately 2,300 soldiers were activated on Oct. 4.
"The soldiers were able to transport the medical personnel to the patient to provide care and remove them from the high waters once the patient was in a stable condition," the National Guard said.
Curfews were to begin Saturday evening in some of the hardest hit communities, including Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Officials warned residents to remain indoors and avoid floodwaters due to the threat of contamination.
The Horry County, South Carolina, Sheriff's Office said there were over 100 roads impassable throughout the county and pleaded with the public to stay off the roadways.
North Carolina's Department of Transportation reported closures of major throughfares including portions of Interstate 95 and Interstate 40.
Road to Short Stay Recreation Area (Joint Base #Charleston) in #BerkeleyCounty #HurricaneMatthew #chsnews #scnews #scwx pic.twitter.com/3evfA2uY3E— Nikki Gaskins (@nikkigaskins) October 8, 2016
Saturated grounds and strong winds caused so many trees to fall today #Matthew Image via Janet Waldorf #scwx pic.twitter.com/pehdi6Brr6— Ed Piotrowski (@EdPiotrowski) October 8, 2016
Waves break off large section of the Oak Island pier. #HurricaneMatthew #MatthewNC pic.twitter.com/YscCS08KOY— Jonathan Rodriguez (@JRodReports) October 8, 2016