Vanceboro holds its breath as the Neuse rises


While all eyes have been focused on New Bern as it felt the brunt of the storm early on, there is another Craven County town that is anxious to see what the lingering effects of Hurricane Florence will be.

The Town of Vanceboro sits in a precarious position. It is bordered by the Neuse River on the western side of its limits. Between the Neuse and the town sits Swift Creek, which has been flooding roads in Ayden. These waterways combine southwest of Vanceboro, near West Craven High School and the Weyerhauser factory at Timberlands. Several smaller creeks border the town to the east.

"Right in town, we're very fortunate," Vanceboro Mayor Chad Braxton said. "We're kind of sitting on an island at present. For right now, we're good to go. We’ve got a lot of downed limbs. The power is back on to about 90% of the people in our area but there are some isolated spots. But we, just like everyone else, will have lots of repairs to do.

“Once the rain quits, the water does flow away pretty good. We have one street that is not passable at present. No homes within town limits have been flooded. So, looking around, we are in pretty good shape all things considering."

Outside of the town limits presents a different story.

Things get complicated when venturing into the rural areas of Vanceboro. Currently, US 17 is clear all the way to New Bern and Greenville is accessible along NC 43. There is standing water on NC 118 to Grifton, but as of Monday afternoon, the DOT has not closed it.

When drivers exit Vanceboro on Streets Ferry Road and Piney Neck Road, they are met with water

"A lot of those houses have been raised up over the years because of events like this," Braxton said. "Those folks can get trapped, especially if 118 is shut down."

Just like other communities in the area, Vanceboro is playing the waiting game. While things are good for now, the waters coming down the Neuse could change things drastically.

"We're hoping that everyone in town is going to be fine," Braxton said. "But some of those spots are going to be rougher out by the high school. Also, (there could be trouble) in some of the outer subdivisions on Piney Neck, River Road, and (other locations) scattered all around the area.”

Craven County EMS has told Vanceboro to be alert and begin preparing.

"They're predicting a big flooding event," Braxton said. “It's also changing hourly. All the different variables keep coming up. But they told us to prepare for a Floyd-like event. The streets are probably going to be dry in the town proper, but if you go 200 yards down the road, you have (several) feet of water and can't get through. People just have to be smart and be careful and we can get through this together.”

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Closings and Delays - Updated 9-18-18 8:42pm

Closings and Delays - Updated 9-18-18 8:42pm

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