RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Pat McCrory and state officials held a press briefing Saturday morning where they said flooding and damage to the state’s agricultural sector continue to be among the major challenges facing the state following the heavy rain seen across North Carolina recently.
Although North Carolina will avoid the path of Hurricane Joaquin, many parts of the state have received significant rainfall over the last week or more and will continue to see rain throughout the weekend.
“The real issue has become the tremendous rain event that is causing flooding in the southeastern counties and areas in and southwest of Asheville with more rain predicted,” McCrory said.
The southeastern and southwestern parts of the state could still see anywhere from three to seven more inches of rain this weekend.
On-and-off showers throughout the weekend are on tap for the central part of the state, but nothing like what other areas will see.
North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said farmers are beginning to see the impact of the continuous rain on their crops.
Troxler said fields are soaked, and fresh fruits are being damaged because of the rain. He said field crops are also being affected because farmers can’t get into the fields to harvest them.
Some of the apples in Henderson County are starting to split open because they’re waterlogged, and the longer harvests are delayed, the more damaged they will be, Troxler said.
Peanut and sweet potato farmers’ crops are under water at this time, Troxler said.
Because of the continuous rain, assessments can’t be performed.
“We will assess what the damage is after the event is over,” said Troxler.
Water coming in from the Atlantic Ocean is laden with salt, and that is detrimental to crops, he added.
He compared the current situation farmers are dealing with to “taking all your cash assets and putting them on a clothesline and watching them float away.”
Troxler said farmers needing help clearing their fields or corralling livestock can call 866-645-9403.
The rain is not only having an impact on the rivers, roads and crops in the state, it’s also hindering some transportation services such as Amtrak. Service throughout North Carolina was cancelled earlier in the morning Saturday.
At the time of the press briefing 17,000 people in North Carolina were without power, officials said.