- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on flooding in North Carolina (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is telling residents not to drop their guard over flooding despite the first sunny skies in several days.

Cooper issued a statement on Wednesday saying forecasters are still predicting some rivers could crest as late as Monday and that people need to remain alert for more flooding.

According to a news release from the governor’s office, local and state emergency management officials continue to monitor the Cashie River near Windsor; the Tar River in Rocky Mount, Tarboro and Greenville; and the Neuse River in Goldsboro and Kinston.

Rainfall totals have ranged from 5.5 inches in the foothills to as much as 9 inches in the Piedmont and coastal counties.

As of Wednesday, there were eight primary routes and 109 secondary routes impacted by high water in North Carolina. Interstate 795 in Wilson County is closed in both directions between exit 40 and 43 due to flooding.

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2:50 p.m.

Officials in Edgecombe County have declared a state of emergency in response to heavy rains that led to flooding which has closed local roads.

The county said on its Facebook page on Wednesday that several roads are impassable and that residents on one road outside the town of Pinetops have been evacuated. The county reported nine state roads are closed in the county, most near Pinetops and Rocky Mount.

According to the county, the Tar River continues to rise although it hasn’t reached its peak. The National Weather Service says the river is expected to crest Friday at 31.7 feet. By comparison, the river reached 36.2 feet after Hurricane Matthew last October.

An emergency shelter has been opened for people affected by the flooding.

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1:50 p.m.

An eastern North Carolina high school bus driver has been fired after district officials say she ignored barricades and drove through standing water with students on the bus.

Brunswick County Schools spokeswoman Jessica Swencki said in an email that the driver was fired hours after she drove through pooled water with three students onboard Tuesday. Dozens of roads were flooded around the state after several days of heavy rains.

Swencki says Marsha McMillian ignored barricades on the road that’s part of her route. All students on her bus made it to school safely.

Witness Bruce Felker recorded video of the bus driving through the pooled water that was splashing around its tires. Felker told WECT-TV that there’s no excuse for the driver’s actions when students are involved.

A phone listing for McMillian rang unanswered Wednesday.

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12:40 p.m.

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter for those who need a place to stay as flooding threatened eastern North Carolina after heavy rains earlier this week.

The Tar River has been rising because of storms that dumped as much as 8 inches of rain in the area.

The Red Cross said in a news release Wednesday that it is opening the shelter at St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church in Tarboro.

The Red Cross says those who need help can come to the church for food, a safe place to stay, and to work one-on-one with Red Cross caseworkers.

The Red Cross is also monitoring rivers in Pitt County as water levels are expected to rise.

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8:30 a.m.

The rains have gone but flooding still poses a problem in much of eastern North Carolina.

The National Weather Service reports that flooding is possible along several major rivers in the state through the end of the week.

A flood warning was in effect in central North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Rocky Mount, Goldsboro, Tarboro and Smithfield until midday Wednesday.

Flooding is also occurring or expected along the Cape Fear River in Fayetteville, the Tar River near Tarboro and Greenville and the Lumber River at Lumberton.

The problems are not expected to reach the same levels as the flooding from Hurricane Matthew last fall.

Several school districts started classes two hours later than usual Wednesday.

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