NEW HANOVER COUNTY: Several schools sustain 'major flooding'

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Hurricane Florence: Snow’s City Bridge reopens to residents, business owners

***For a recap of Sunday in New Hanover County, click here***

Several schools experience “major flooding”

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Early damage assessments from New Hanover County Schools found that several schools experienced “major flooding” during and after Hurricane Florence.

In a news release Monday schools spokeswoman Valita Quattlebaum said school officials have completed preliminary assessments at 60 percent of schools. Several schools remain inaccessible due to damaged roads and downed trees.

Schools will be closed the remainder of the week.

“The superintendent and senior leaders will decide later this week about when the schools can safely reopen for staff and students,” Quattlebaum wrote. “Many employees and their families are still evacuated and have been unable to return to their homes at this time.”

She noted that school districts and others across the country have offered donations to NHCS. Anyone interested in helping should contact Quattlebaum at for more information beginning next week.

— Cammie Bellamy

>>READ MORE: Click here for complete coverage of Hurricane Florence.

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — With more cooperative weather Monday, city and county officials said relief efforts are in full force as the threat of rising flood water looms.

At a press conference Monday morning, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said while the sun is shining today, residents still need to be mindful that local rivers and creeks are going to rise in the coming days, resulting in what could be historic flooding.

“It is probably going to be the most significant flooding event the southeastern part of the state has ever seen,” Saffo said.

Right now, the county has seen about 24 inches of rain, blowing past the 19 inches dropped on the region by Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

The Northeast Cape Fear River will crest Thursday at 24.2 feet, according to the National Weather Service’s Wilmington office.

Overnight, the previously announced food and water to sustain 60,000 people for four days arrived via 20 high-water trucks from the state. New Hanover County Commissioners Chairman Woody White said distribution locations are still being ironed out and should be announced by Tuesday morning. There will be three distribution sites across the county.

So far, the county has seen 700 citizen rescues and 81,000 customers are still without power. A county damage team has done a preliminary assessment of $13 million in damage. There is also a preliminary estimate of $2.7 million in contents lost, White said.

Although weather conditions have improved, road conditions remain dire as flooding still makes major routes into Wilmington and the county impassable.

White said the county will inform residents who left when it is possible to safely return.

“It is not now, it has not come yet,” he said. “Please stay where you are.”

Saffo said Monday he didn’t expect residents to be able to return until Wednesday at the earliest.

Snow’s Cut Bridge to reopen at noon

NEW HANOVER COUNTY —  Carolina Beach announced Monday that Snow’s Cut Bridge will reopen at noon to people with a town identification card.

Town Identification Cards (TIC) signify that someone is a Carolina Beach resident, property owner or has a business on the island. Anyone in those categories who does not have TIC must stop at Masonboro Commons shopping center, 6404 Carolina Beach Road, to get one.

The bridge will remain open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday, when the town’s curfew takes effect.

“Supplies are limited and available gasoline will be in reserve for authorized emergency vehicles, so fill up when you can,” a news release from the town reads. “Bring supplies for food and beverage. Our water is NOT potable and food supplies will be temporarily limited while roads to our island remain unpassable in some areas.”

Damage assessments of structures have not been completed. Returning people are asked not to enter a building if it has sustained structural damage.

Person dies at Hoggard shelter

One person died Monday morning at the shelter set up at Hoggard High School, according to a release from New Hanover County government.

Emergency medical personnel responded to a call for an unresponsive person at the shelter, stated the release, which was issued shortly before 6 a.m. Monday.

“It is with great sadness I report that a person at Hoggard High School passed away Monday morning, and a cause of death has not yet been determined,” New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet said in a statement. “We offer our heartfelt support to the friends and family of our community member. An investigation is currently underway. At this time we will not release the name of the individual to protect the family’s privacy during this time of loss.”

The person — county officials did not identify their gender — is not the first in New Hanover County to have died during Hurricane Florence or in the storm’s aftermath. A mother and her 7-month-old infant were killed Friday when a tree fell on their house.

Officials did not say Monday morning whether Monday’s death was directly related to the storm.

–Tim Buckland