Frustration floods in after high water recedes from Raleigh apartments, mall
Posted July 18, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — The Brook Hill Townhouse Apartments complex in southwest Raleigh sits in a mapped flood plain, but residents complained Monday that they had no idea their possessions were at risk in a storm.
Heavy rains Saturday night sent up to 4 feet of water from nearby Walnut Creek cascading through dozens of units in the Dana Drive complex. Many residents spent Monday trying to salvage what they could after the water receded.
"It's gross. I just dragged out some of the wet towels," Nazli Clark said. "Some of it we can't really replace because my table, the rugs out front, those are family heirlooms."
"Nobody – I mean nobody – was prepared for it," Ebadullah Nasiri said.
Brook Hill manager Susan Davis disputed that, saying flood insurance pamphlets are part of lease packets given to residents and are also circulated periodically. The city also posted a sign on the property last year warning that it is a flood-prone area, Davis said.
City officials say Raleigh's Public Works Division has twice offered to purchase the land, using hazard mitigation funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but the apartment owners have declined.
Davis declined to comment.
"It's really nerve-wracking because we've been told it's going to take two to three months for them to clean it all up, which means we're going to have to uproot our lives and find somewhere to stay," Clark said.
Davis said Brook Hill management is trying to secure housing at sister complexes for residents who can't stay in their apartments.
Meanwhile, some shoppers expressed similar frustration at Crabtree Valley Mall management after nearby Crabtree Creek flooded, leaving dozens of cars in the parking garage under water.
"I just thought, 'No, it's not real. It's not happening.' I just can't believe it," said Lena Sharonina, who said she ran inside the mall for half an hour Saturday night only to find her car flooded when she was ready to head home.
Crabtree Valley spokesman Brian Asbill said the water rose 14 feet in just 20 minutes, and warnings were repeatedly broadcast through the mall's intercoms, urging shoppers to move their vehicles to higher ground. The mall also dispatched tow trucks to help move vehicles quickly, and mall security encouraged shoppers to leave.
Sharonina said she didn't hear the messages, but she said mall managers know the area is prone to flooding and should have done more to protect shoppers' vehicles.
"It happened many times, and not only on that side of the parking deck, on the other side too," she said. "So, they definitely knew there is a danger of flooding."