The scene would make quite a bucolic backdrop for a pastoral painting. The trees were still and verdant, and the late-summer sun glinted off a river of water that flowed into the horizon.
Except it was not a river. Nor was it a stream or a canal — at least, not before the storm.
When Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas last week, it brought with it more than 30 inches of rain that has since flooded rivers and roads, in many cases blurring the lines between the two.
This was the case Monday with a portion of Interstate 40, one of the country’s longest highways, which stretches from California to North Carolina, where, in Pender County, it was completely submerged.
A drone from the North Carolina Department of Transportation captured footage of the stunning spectacle, using the images to underscore a dire warning to the state’s residents: Stay away.
There have been at least 35 water rescues in Pender County, according to local news reports.
“This isn’t a river … this is Interstate 40,” the Transportation Department tweeted Monday evening. “ … This illustrates our message that travel in this area is impassable and unsafe.”
This isn’t a river…this is Interstate 40. @NCAviation captured this drone footage today as part of damage assessment near mile marker 387 in Pender County. This illustrates our message that travel in this area is impassable and unsafe. #FlorenceNC pic.twitter.com/28Ok6Tjpcu
— NCDOT (@NCDOT) September 17, 2018