GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Pitt County and Greenville officials laid out their plans for handling flooding including a curfew in Greenville and the use of military vehicles and air support to connect north and south portions of the county.
Mayor Allen Thomas announced a curfew that ran from 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday. He said the curfew would give police the opportunity to keep areas, especially those under evacuation, safe.
“Some people have been reluctant to leave their area because they’re concerned that it was not going to be protected,” said Thomas. “I can’t be forceful enough, any activity in those areas will not be tolerated. “
At an earlier press conference, Pitt County Emergency Management director Allen Everette said that by the end of the day the bridge on 264 near Hastings Ford could be impassable.
“As the water is moving downhill that would be the first bridge that could receive impact,” Everette said. “There is a chance that all bridges that cross the Tar River could become impassable by the end of the day.”
Officials plan to keep the north and south sections of the county connected by using military vehicles.
“If the flooding is not too high on the bridge those vehicles will still be able to move over,” Everette said.
If those bridges become impassable to the military vehicles, air support will then be used.
The city of Greenville has established a county volunteer coordinator who can be reached at 252-902-3976 for people who want to help. Thomas said he recommended organizations putting food and supplies together now so the city can distribute them.
“We have to be our own field general at this point as we start staging things together,” Thomas said. “We’re going to have a tremendous outpouring of public support over the next two to three days as we start recovering from the flood.”
Everette said the river is expected to crest at 24 feet, five feet less than Floyd, but warned residents that there will still be serious flooding and waters will take several days to recede, possibly not receding until the weekend.
“Twenty-four feet is still an awful lot of water,” Everette said. “Take it seriously. It’s going to be in homes. Get out of areas that experience flooding. “
General manager/chief executive officer of Greenville Utilities Tony Cannon said they plan to offer uninterupted service through the flooding.
“I want to dispel the rumors that we’re going to be disconnecting utility services at any time. That is not true,” Cannon said. “We have made significant investment to shore up the utility system since Hurricane Floyd.”
This includes berm around the water-treatment plant and changes to the electric substation to keep critical components raised above the 500-year flood plain.
Pitt County manager Scott Elliott said if an area experienced flooding during Floyd, residents should expect it to flood again over the coming days.
“Part of the issue we’re facing is a good amount of people who live here today weren’t here in 1999,” said Elliott.
He said to find out more information about flooding to call 252-902-3999.
One person stayed in the shelter at North Pitt High School, 200 are at Wellcome High School shelter, 45 at the E.B. Aycock Middle School and 42 at Hope Middle School.