Weather

Officials: Low-lying areas of Wilson wait to dry out from heavy rain

Posted April 27

— Several homes and businesses in Wilson County remained under water Thursday following heavy rain earlier in the week, as the area continues to struggle to recover from Hurricane Matthew.

Downing Road was washed out by heavy rain and remained closed and impassable to drivers.

The road is sandwiched in the middle of the Wiggins Mill reservoir so, when heavy rains come down, the water spills over.

About 1 mile away, where Downing Road meets Forest Road, several businesses are dealing with major clean-up as barricades surround the area and the intersection remains closed until the water clears.

Due to continuing issues from flooding, Wilson County Schools announced that the district would operate on a two-hour delay Friday.

Bill Ellis Barbecue has been closed for the past few days as employees wait for floodwaters to lower. The restaurant sits in a notoriously low-lying area and employees have dealt with flooding before so, when this week's rain came through, HR manager Thomas Forbes said they shut down early and began to prepare.

"So we just did what we could do, prepped, taped up doors, sandbags, everything we could do to prepare for it and we just hoped for the best," he said.

Forbes said business has taken a hit, but they know things could have been much worse.

"It got over in the buffet within about 6 feet of the doors and around our bar and storage area. It got pretty close to the door but never actually went in, so we got really lucky," Forbes said. "It's hitting us pretty hard, but we bounced back pretty fast last time to we should bounce back pretty good this time."

Stansonburg Road, N.C. Highway 22 and N.C. Highway 58 at the county line remain closed and Emergency Management officials said it could be up to four days before they reopen.

Emergency Management officials said the southeast part of the county was hit hardest, with most of the roads in the western part having already dried out.

Although the road closures have been an inconvenience for residents, Emergency Management said no damage has been reported.

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