- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The threat of Hurricane Joaquin hitting the state following days of soaking rain could be as serious as a 1999 storm spawned flooding that wiped out thousands of homes and left 51 people dead, Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday.

The added rain from Joaquin (wah-KEEN’) could result in deadly flooding for a state that is nearly entirely under flood watches, the governor said.

“This is not just possible hurricane-related flooding. This could be a one-two punch that promises to bring a lot of rain. My major concern is that this could be like Hurricane Floyd, and we all know that caused devastating impact on our state,” McCrory said at a news conference after declaring a state of emergency.

Hurricane Floyd dumped 20 inches of rain in some areas of the state’s coastal plain.

While much of the state can expect six inches of rain this weekend, McCrory said up to 10 inches could fall in parts of the state’s western mountains and foothills. That water pouring downhill could cause damage to communities there.

“I cannot stress enough that are talking about the real possibility of deadly flooding in many areas around our state,” McCrory said.

Hyde County officials ordered an evacuation of Ocracoke Island, a low-lying Outer Banks location where county officials said residents should prepare for several days of flooding and lost power.

A wreck Thursday on Interstate 95 northeast of Fayetteville that killed one person and hurt another could have been caused by the weather, the state Highway Patrol said. A tree fell across the highway, hitting two vehicles, Lt. Jeff Gordon said.

Outer Banks towns are especially at risk because it’s been raining there nearly nonstop for a week followed by a nor’easter last weekend that chewed up protective sand dunes, McCrory said. The falling rain and storm-pushed tides have caused water to collect on Outer Banks roads with nowhere to go, he said.

McCrory’s emergency declaration allows exceptions to weight and time restrictions on trucks while also giving him added authority to respond to trouble.

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Emery Dalesio can be reached at http://twitter.com/emerydalesio

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