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Death toll in NC rises to 8 in Hurricane Matthew flood waters

RALEIGH, N.C. – Hurricane Matthew, now a post-tropical cyclone, is blamed for the deaths of eight people in North Carolina, according to WTVD.

The victims have been in Sampson, Bladen, Pitt, Johnston and Harnett counties.

Matthew dumped torrents of water over the weekend, creating the worst flooding the state has seen since Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Gov. Pat McCrory announced Sunday that he has signed a major disaster declaration.

“As blue skies return to North Carolina, our state is facing major destruction and sadly, loss of life,” Governor McCrory said in a statement issued Sunday. “This is still an extremely dangerous situation for North Carolina as major rivers are expected to flood in the coming days. As we know from the past, most loss of life often comes after the storm. Our National Guard troops, swift water rescue teams and helo-aquatic rescue teams are on the scene performing rescues as we speak.”

McCrory said there have been 887 swift water rescues since Saturday, using 58 boats crews so far. There have been 562 swift water rescues in Fayetteville alone.

Communities in Rocky Mount, Kinston, Goldsboro and Greenville face major flooding the next 24 to 48 hours.

Much of Edgecomb County is under water and there are major power outages statewide.

Three-hundred North Carolina National Guard troops have been activated and more are on the way. Eighty-three shelters are open with 4,200 people.

There are drinking water issues in Johnston, Cumberland and Gates counties. Portions of Interstate-95 and Interstate-40 had been closed.

Highway Patrol said two women died after their vehicle was swept off Monzingo Road in Pitt County around 2:41 a.m. Sunday.

In Johnston County, a woman died when the car she was in was swept off Interstate-95 at mile marker 83 near Four Oaks around 3 a.m.

Also in Johnston County, Highway Patrol said five people travelling on Cornwallis Road near NC-42 were swept off the roadway. Four of the passengers escaped and were able to cling to nearby trees. The fifth person was carried away and died, troopers said.

Gov. Pat McCrory said one person in Sampson County and two people in Bladen County have died as a result of the storm. The first person was killed when their car hydroplaned. The two in Bladen died in a flooded vehicle.

The Harnett County Sheriff says a person drowned after they drove past a barricade near Carolina Drive and was swept away into a creek. The body of the unidentified person was found in the vehicle after it was pulled from the water.

The hurricane is also attributed to four deaths in Florida and three in Georgia.

Matthew is moving east out of the area.