Pumps remove millions of gallons from flooded Princeville

PRINCEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – It will still take several days to lower water level in Princeville despite crews pumping millions of gallons of water from the area.

The Tar River swelled in the days following Hurricane Matthew, spilling millions of gallons of water across Princeville.

The levee held during the flood but water poured from around it.

“There is a sharp bend in the river and as the flow of water increased in the river channel the water went around the levee,” said Master Sgt. Timothy Ashley with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Pumps arrived in town October 14 and round-the-clock pumping has removed four-feet of water from behind the levee.

“We are at four-million gallons a day when all the pumps are operating,” said Ashley. “We’re very pleased. In the last three days, the water level has dropped four feet from behind the levee.”

It will still take several days before assessment teams can enter Princeville.

In the meantime, those who evacuated can do nothing but wait and make plans.

“It’s going to be a long road back, man. I moved here in 2004. It’s kinda devastating but we will get through it. Yep, we will,” said evacuee Reginald McClain.

There is still a lot of water left to pump and many don’t know how their neighborhood has been affected.

“I haven’t heard anything to help me understand where the water is from. All I saw was the main roads but not the back roads,” said evacuee William Marshall.

McClain said his thoughts are now of relocating.

“Try to find somewhere to stay. I’ve been pretty much out of my house since last Monday,” he said.

But despite the loss of property – some remain grateful.

“There are a lot who didn’t make it. Twenty-something died in the flood. I thank God I’m not one of them,” Mashall said.

On Monday, Gov. Pat McCrory said 25 people have died in north Carolina in Hurricane Matthew’s aftermath.

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