The Cape Fear River has reached flood stage in Fayetteville Sunday morning as it swells following Hurricane Florence, the National Weather Service said.
Authorities in Cumberland County have ordered a mandatory evacuation for people along the Cape Fear River and within one mile of the river in Fayetteville due to the flooding concerns.
“There is the potential for life-threatening flooding and those who reside in the area face imminent danger from the flood waters that will soon arrive,” according to a press release from the City of Fayetteville.
The mandatory evacuations will impact about 2,800 households.
The river hit 35 feet, which is minor flood stage just before 5 a.m. Sunday. It is forecast to reach major flood level Tuesday morning as it crests at 62.3 feet.
The river had been measured at just below 12 feet on Sept. 13 before Florence’s rains came.
The Cape Fear River crested at 58.94 feet in Fayetteville during Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The record of 68.9 feet in Sept. 1945.
The mandatory evacuations also include the town of Wade. Officials said they lowered lake levels to try to decrease the amount of water from the spillway. One of the downtown traffic circles is within one mile of the river.
In Hope Mills, authorities are closely monitoring the dam at Hope Mills Lake, which is not directly linked to the Cape Fear River.
Officials have notified property owners downstream of the dam that the water may overtake the dam.
At 8 a.m. Sunday, Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner told CBS 17’s Lauren Haviland the dam is working and there is no failure.
Previously, the town manager issued a warning ahead of possible issues with the dam.
“We suggest that if you have the ability to seek shelter elsewhere you should do so,” said Melissa P. Adams, Hope Mills town manager. “We expect flood waters are going to overtake the dam possibly sometime Sunday and wanted to notify people (Saturday) tonight.”
In Fayetteville, water rescue teams from as far as Californai are helping save lives.
California Task Force 2 from Los Angeles helped perform a rescue near the Cumberland-Sampson County line.
Task Force 2 has been based at the Stedman Volunteer Fire Department since Florence started.
“The life-saving effort exemplifies the seriousness of the weather event and the powerful, dangerous effects of flooding waterways, which are about to become more frequent,” Fayetteville officials said.
There are 13 water rescue teams stationed currently in Fayetteville.
The City of Fayetteville said the Manna Church, located at 5117 Cliffdale Road, Fayetteville, will open an additional emergency shelter for 175 people at 9 a.m.
Pets are not allowed at the shelter. People should bring bedding materials.
As of 5:30 a.m. Sunday, 990 people have reported to the seven shelters operated by Cumberland County.
Pine Forest and South View high schools are pet-friendly shelters.
City of Fayetteville buses will pick people up and take them to shelters starting at 8 a.m.
If anyone needs transportation, including those with ADA needs, they should call the Hurricane Florence Information Hotline at 910-678-7657.