Johnston County News

Flood warnings set for Neuse River in Johnston County as upstream releases planned

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) - Lauren Egan recalls what she saw Sunday running along the riverwalk in Clayton right next to the Neuse River.

"It was definitely really high," Egan said. "I was noticing how much quicker it's moving, and I know they do a lot of the river sports and things like that through here. It's kind of a thought process that might be a little concerning for them, because how fast it's going."

Jeff Culler said he runs next to the river almost every day near his Johnston County home, and remembers its condition during Florence. 

"It's definitely lower than it was last week," Culler said. "There are certain parts of the trail, like over here, you wouldn't have been able to pass. This is all underwater, and there's no getting through it."

But this week, officials with the National Weather Service have issued flood warnings along the Neuse River near Clayton and Smithfield.

For the warning near Clayton, officials said it will go into effect Monday evening until further notice. The river is expected to rise about one foot above flood stage at roughly 10 feet by early Wednesday afternoon.

For the warning near Smithfield, officials said this warning will go into effect Monday afternoon until further notice. The river is expected to rise about one and a half feet above flood stage to nearly 17 feet by early Friday morning.

Johnston County Emergency Services Director Kevin Hubbard said the warnings indicate minor flooding is expected due to planned releases from upstream water sources. 

"It's something they do on a fairly regular basis, but I'm sure the waters are due to Florence," Hubbard said. 

Hubbard said there might be an inconvenience along the riverwalk in Clayton, and also along the walkway next to the U.S. Highway 70 bridge in Smithfield. But no major issues are expected. 

"They [National Weather Service] issue warnings for a reason," Hubbard said. "Although we anticipate no major issues, minor at the most, we still want people to be aware of it." 

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