Monday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper addressed North Carolina with updates about the effect of Hurricane Florence. Here are key excerpts from his remarks.

Not out of the deep end yet

“The crisis in North Carolina continues. Catastrophic flooding and tornadoes are still claiming lives and property. 

“My most important message is first, for many parts of North Carolina, the danger is still immediate. Flood waters are rising as rivers crest—and they will for days. Now, I know people are eager to get back to work and back to school and many of you are even seeing the sun for the first time in days.

“In Western North Carolina, things are looking better as most of the rain has moved out and the risk of rock slides and mudslides has decreased.

“However, many roads, particularly in Eastern North Carolina in the sand hills to Charlotte, remain extremely dangerous and others are being added to the list. I urge you—if you don’t have to drive, stay off the roads, particularly south of U.S. 64. Don’t drive around barricades. We’re seeing this happen now and the result is not good. Listen to evacuation orders. Be safe and wait this out.

“Here are some updates: as of this morning, North Carolina has 17 confirmed deaths due to this storm. We mourn the loss of each and every life and our hearts go out to their friends and their family. We have more than 1,200 road closures, including 356 primary roads. Our major north-south connector—Interstate 95—and portions of Interstate 40 remain closed to traffic. 

“As of this morning, a little more than 84,000 people in North Carolina don’t have power.

“Even though the rain is moving away, the ground is saturated, and even small amounts of rain can cause flash flooding. First responders have reported rescuing and evacuating over 2,600 people and over 300 animals from flooded areas so far, and rescues are ongoing.

Progress is ongoing

“We have been able to get supplies through to many in need, including some communities that are surrounded by water. Twenty-three truckloads of food, water and supplies have made it into Wilmington this morning, and other communities facing this are being addressed as well. 

“We have requested and FEMA has added more counties to our major federal declaration request. Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Lenoir, Jones, Robeson, Sampson and Wayne Counties have been added for a total of 18 counties.

“We’ve requested that Hoke and Scotland counties be added and know that there will be more counties added. Right now, the Black, Little, Lumber, Cape Fear and Neuse Rivers are inundated with major flooding, and 13 more rivers are forecast to reach major or moderate flood stage.

'Please don’t make yourself someone who needs to be rescued.'

“Roads you think are safe can be washed away in the matter of a minute. If you must drive, don’t drive on flooded roads. Just a few inches of water can sweep your car away. 

“Be alert for sudden flooding, and be prepared to get to higher ground quickly. Pay close attention to flash flood warnings, and follow local evacuation orders. 

“I tell you, there are so many heroes in our state to thank this morning: the rescuers who are risking their lives to pull people from floodwaters, the law enforcement, the firefighters, the first responders who are working around the clock, the nurses, the doctors, the pilots, the utility workers, all the volunteers. From the people of North Carolina, I say, thank you.

“We remain grateful to the volunteers who are providing safe shelter for the more than 14,000 evacuees in 110 shelter locations right now. To the members of the media, I want to thank you for the work that you are doing in getting critical information out to people. 

“Please continue this message: We’ve been preparing for and living through Hurricane Florence for more than a week now, but this remains a significant disaster that affects much of our state. The next few days will be long ones, as the flooding continues.

“Our emergency management experts and thousands of recovery personnel are on the job. This is what we prepare for, and we have new supplies and personnel coming in every hour.

“We, the people of North Carolina, will get through this.”