Fayetteville watches, worries as deadly Florence pushes Cape Fear toward record flooding level

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— Record flooding is expected on North Carolina’s Cape Fear River in the coming week, and signs of the coming flood are already apparent.

The Cape Fear River is predicted to crest at 62 feet (nearly 19 meters) in Fayetteville on Tuesday.

Weekend rains have soaked the city and the surrounding area. Officials have warned the river could swell more than a mile (1.6 kilometers) past its banks. The nearby Little River, which feeds into the Cape Fear River, is also set to experience record flooding.

County authorities issued a mandatory evacuation order Saturday afternoon for anyone within a mile of either river.

John Rose owns a furniture business with stores less than a mile (1.6 kilometers) away from the Cape Fear River. When he heard about possible flooding, he moved quickly to empty more than 1,000 mattresses from a warehouse located in a low-lying strip mall threatened by the coming surge of water. Rose says that “if the river rises to the level they say it’s going to, then this warehouse is going to be under water.”

On U.S. Route 401, rain accumulated in ditches and unharvested tobacco crops along the road. Ponds had already started to overflow, and creeks passing under the highway charged with muddy, brown water.