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Cape Fear River locks expected to drop below flood stage

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The Cape Fear River is expected to drop below flood stage by Tuesday night at the three locks in Bladen County, according to the National Weather Service.

Rain last week from Hurricane Florence caused severe flooding along the Cape Fear River. The National Weather Service reported that Elizabethtown received almost 36 inches of rain from the slow-moving storm.

The W.O. Huske Lock near the Bladen County-Cumberland County line is expected to drop below flood stage Monday night. It measured 52.48 feet at 9 p.m. Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Flood stage is 42 feet.

Lock No. 2 at Elizabethtown is expected to drop below flood stage Tuesday. It was at 36.25 feet at 8:45 p.m. Sunday. Flood stage is 25 feet.

Lock No. 1 near Riegelwood is expected to drop below flood stage Tuesday night. It was at 29.42 feet at 8:45 p.m. Sunday. Flood stage is 24 feet.

All three locks crested at levels higher than was reached during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Lock No. 1 crested at 30.68 feet, which was nearly two feet higher than during Hurricane Matthew. Lock No. 2 crested at 42.51 feet, which was six feet higher than in 2016. Huske crested about two feet higher during Florence at 70.14 feet.

As of Sunday night, the National Weather Service forecasts six rivers to reach or were currently in major flood stage. They were:

** Northeast Cape Fear River near Burgaw (crested)
** Cape Fear River at Lock No. 1 near Kelly (crested)
** Lumber River at Lumberton (crested)
** Waccamaw River at Conway, S.C. (record crest expected Wednesday)
** Pee Dee River at Pee Dee (crested)
** Little Pee Dee at Galivants Ferry (crested)

The two rivers that were in moderate flood stage Sunday night were:

** Cape Fear River at William O. Huske Lock and Dam (crested)
** Cape Fear River at Elizabethtown (crested)

The National Weather Service is calling for a chance of showers and thunderstorms Monday and Tuesday with increased chances of storms Wednesday night through Friday as a stronger cold front moves into the area.