Local News

Rain Causes Widespread Flooding, Some Power Outages

Posted February 16, 1998

— Flooding was reported Tuesday in several areas around the Triangle, forcing the closure of some roads and causing scattered power outages.

At least one school system -- Duplin County schools -- has delayed school openings Wednesday by two hours because of flooding.

Floodwaters did begin to recede once the rain stopped Tuesday, but before that happened, creeks were overflowing their banks and threatening residences in low-lying areas of Chapel Hill and elsewhere in the Triangle. The extent of the flooding took many by surprise.

Lewis Morthis says the weather and flooding are impeding his progress. He's trying to move in to a new home in the Estes Drive area of Chapel Hill.

From the looks of roads in the area, Morthis isn't likely to be getting his furniture moved in any time soon. He says the floodwaters actually have created strong currents in some places.

Francis Wade already lives in the Estes Drive area. She says she hasn't seen flooding like this since Hurricane Fran came calling. Wade told WRAL-TV5's Bret Baier that she called for help to get out of her apartment when she saw how high the water was Tuesday morning. She planned to go to her sister's home to wait out the weather.

Most residents decided to remain in their homes, hoping the rains would stop and the water would go down. While that did happen around midday, many say they may leave if predicted storms Tuesday afternoon create further problems.

Officials in Raleigh are keeping a close watch on Crabtree Creek, and have issued a flood warning for the creek until 7 p.m. Tuesday At midday, they were saying they had a "wait and see" situation on their hands.

The creek is very swollen along flood-prone Wake Forest Road, although at noon, it was still at least three feet below flood stage. Area businesses, who have been caught by Crabtree's rising waters before, are taking precaution to prevent damage to their wares.

Raleigh police officers have been out warning people in such areas about the possibility of rapidly rising waters. At Crabtree Valley Mall, Raleigh Police Capt. Dennis Poteat patrolled the banks of the creek, monitoring its level. He told WRAL-TV5'sKelly Wrightthe few hours between noon and when the next wave of rain, expected Tuesday afternoon, could be enough to stave off problems.

While Poteat said he hoped for the best, he suggested those in flood-prone areas prepare for the worst. The water in area creeks, he pointed out, can rise very quickly.

Heavy rains meant a long night for CP&L repair crews. As many as 57,000 customers across the state were without electricity over the last 24 hours. Much of the power has been restored, but about 50 homes in Zebulon were still without electricity at midday Tuesday.

Crews are still working to restore power to 60 homes in Fayetteville, and in the Goldsboro area, nearly 700 homes are still in the dark. Nearly 600 customers at the coast are waiting for the power to come back on. ,Kelly Wright,Ron Pittman


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