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Floods prompt evacuations in North Carolina

Washington (AFP): Residents in central North Carolina were told late Monday to evacuate their homes amid fears that rising floodwaters from Hurricane Matthew could breach a dam, adding to a storm toll of 11 dead.

Officials in Moore county ordered a mandatory evacuation ahead of an imminent breach of Woodlake Dam, WRAL TV reported. Evacuations have also been ordered for two more counties along the Neuse River.

Earlier Monday, Governor Pat McCrory said the storm’s effects had killed 11 in the state, with three people still missing.

“A lot of people are hurting right now in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and the devastation is beyond words,” he told a news conference.

“Floodwaters are rising very quickly,” he added, with water knee-deep in many places.

“We do have people on the roofs as we speak, and we have a lot of helicopters and boats that have been deployed that are, at this point in time, rescuing them.”

Most of those killed died when floods carried their cars off roads, WTVD reported officials as saying.

Several rivers broke their banks on Monday after up to 40 centimeters (16 inches) of rain fell in some places, the National Weather Service reported.

Water from the Lumber River poured into the southern city of Lumberton early on Monday, leaving some 1,500 people stranded, McCrory said.

Water is expected to keep rising in some rivers as floods move downstream.

The authorities have declared a federal disaster in 31 counties.

In Moore county, officials said the dam breach could cause as much as two to three feet (60-90 centimeters) additional flooding for those downstream.

Emergency crews have rescued at least 1,400 people since Hurricane Matthew struck the state last week.

The storm struck Florida and South Carolina after battering the Caribbean island of Haiti, leaving at least 372 dead and 1.4 million people requiring emergency aid.