Weather

Coastal Carolina sees flooding

Posted September 30, 2010

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— Driving rain from a storm system moving up the East Coast brought flooding to parts of central and eastern North Carolina, and residents were on the lookout for more potential flooding throughout Thursday.

Nearly 21 inches collected in Wilmington since rain started falling Sunday topped Hurricane Floyd’s five-day mark of 19 inches set in 1999, the National Weather Service said.

New Hanover County emergency officials were concerned Thursday afternoon about flooding on Water Street in downtown Wilmington because of an expected 2-foot tidal surge.

It was a similar scene elsewhere along the North Carolina Coast. Flood warnings, watches and advisories were in effect for most of the area until late Thursday and into Friday.

Windsor flooding Photos: Heavy rain hits N.C.

Rain caused an 11-acre retention pond in Carolina Beach to overflow, flooding downtown Carolina Beach and some businesses, homes and hotels in other low-lying areas were also flooded.

Town manager Tim Owens said the pond, which can handle 6 to 7 inches of rain, is usually pumped before big storms, but that utility crews ran out of time before the latest round of rain.

Crews spent the day pumping water from it, and four additional pumps were brought in to help speed along the process, Carolina Beach Police Chief William Younginger said.

"I used to live in Houston, and I thought I'd seen a lot of rain there, but this is incredible," one Carolina Beach resident said. "I've never seen flooding like this."

In Brunwick County, rain damaged some roads and watched out others, including parts of U.S. Highway 17 and N.C. Highway 133.

One lane of U.S. 17 remained closed Thursday afternoon and N.C. 133 between Leland and Boiling Springs Lake was also closed.

Carolina Beach sees widespread flooding Carolina Beach sees widespread flooding

Emergency officials reported eight road closures in Pender County and 13 partial closures, including N.C. Highway 50.

Farther inland, about 70 people were evacuated overnight from a mobile home community in Kinston because of high water, said Roger Dail, director of emergency services in Lenoir County.

Some coastal counties opened shelters for residents displaced by flooding, including First Baptist Church, on Village Road in Leland; First Baptist Activity Center on Independence Boulevard in Wilmington; and Burgaw Middle School on South Wright Street in Burgaw.

Minor flooding was also reported farther inland in some areas of Johnston, Halifax and Edgecombe counties.

The National Weather Service issued flood advisories for those counties, in addition to others in Central North Carolina.

But state emergency officials warned that moderate to major flooding in low-lying areas along rivers and creeks would likely continue into early next week. They urged people to say away from flood-prone areas and to avoid driving in areas of standing water.

Jeff Orrock, a National Weather Service meteorologist, advised Smithfield residents to keep an eye on the Neuse River.

“We’re already forecasting minor to moderate flooding, and that may push those river levels up a little higher,” he said. “They have a lot of problems on the Neuse River at about 20 to 21 feet. Right now, the forecast is for 18.5 feet.”

In Raleigh, concerns about Crabtree Creek flooding prompted Crabtree Valley Mall to close its lower parking deck, and nearby automotive dealerships moved vehicles from their lots as a precaution.

Water levels at Crabtree Creek crested earlier Thursday at 15.35 feet, and it was expected to continue falling.

There were some reports of trees down on power lines in parts of Wake County, including on the North Carolina State University campus and in parts of Cary.

At one point, the storms had knocked out power to more than 62,000 Progress Energy customers in North Carolina.

Power had been restored to most areas, but the utility company still had about 7,700 customers without power as of noon, including 1,000 in Wake County, 335 in Wilmington and 1,300 in Smithfield.

Duke Energy reported about 3,300 outages. Power had been restored to most customers by the afternoon, a spokesman said.

Commuters slogged through a rainy, slippery drive and encountered flooded, closed roads in counties from the coast to the Triangle.

Officials urged motorists not to drive through water that was washing over roads.

“Back during Floyd, we had a lot of people lose their lives that way,” Red Cross regional director Lynwood Roberson said.

The threat of standing water on roads prompted a number of school systems to announce a two-hour delay to the start of school – including Cumberland, Duplin, Edgecombe, Franklin, Halifax, Johnston, Nash-Rocky Mount, Northampton, Sampson, Scotland and Wayne counties.

Several school systems along the coast also canceled classes for Friday.

38 Comments

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  • CB Native Sep 30, 2010

    That's cool 1opinion, if your "down" means you live in CB and it is only better because they finally got a second pump at the lake and we have a great guy running the Stormwater Department with a great crew. It is the politicians who told him not to pump. Go look at the water in front of the old ABC store two doors down from Moma Mia' and tell those merchants it's better. Four million tax dollars for Stormwater ponds and re-building Carolina Sands drainage, and the lake floods because of one councilman wants to pat himself on the back. I am glad the media was there to document the situation. Sorry to vent you seem like a good guy.

  • rescuefan Sep 30, 2010

    You won't hear about any property damage on WRAL because it's not local. If there is property damage, it would be reported on the local stations. How many stories did you read on WRAL after the recent hurricane hit the Outer Banks? If it's not local, there's no follow up. That's how the news works.

  • 1opinion Sep 30, 2010

    rescuefan - they hype the superbowl, doesn't mean it didn't happen. Just means they give it more press than it deserves.
    I never said the rain didn't happen. I guess we'll have to wait to see the property damage numbers to see who's right. My bet is you won't hear another word after friday.

  • 1opinion Sep 30, 2010

    If you have never seen water past Mama Mias then you just haven't lived in Carolina Beach very long. It's actually much better than it's ever been. The town can't win, if they pump the lake and nothing happens people complain, if they don't pump it people complain. I personally would err on the side of property and pump it, but that's me.

  • 1opinion Sep 30, 2010

    "Come on down to CB 1opinion and feel our pain.".
    I'm down baby! Obviously you are new to this problem.

  • rescuefan Sep 30, 2010

    "I so wish they'd quit hyping the Carolina Beach flooding. The picture they show is actually a lake. There is supposed to be water in it. Now the water has overflowed into the road. It's happened many times. I played in it as a kid. So they show a picture and talk about the flood like it's an unusual event. The lake makes it look like it's huge, really not a big deal. The real property damage will be pretty close to zero yet we talk about it forever. The folks in kayaks are there only to get on TV, it's not like they have the paddle around to get anywhere. Hype!
    1opinion"

    Yeah, all those pictures of the flooding after they got so much rain is all hype! Sheesh. How dare the news talk about flooding. Nobody cares about it, just ask 1opinion. It's all hype! All that rain they got? Hype! Shame on the news for helping support all this hype!

  • CB Native Sep 30, 2010

    Hyping, give me a break! For us folks who live a few blocks from the 11 acre retention pond that would be dry if it were not for stormwater runoff (the spring dried up years ago) we depend on town officials to pump it down before a storm. They did not pump it down Saturday or Sunday because of "Island Day" a local appreciation day. Nice way to thank the locals. Look at Sept 15, 2005 Ophelia did the same thing and the Town made the same mistake. Come on down to CB 1opinion and feel our pain.

  • PeaceOut2017 Sep 30, 2010

    Looks like the drought's over for them

  • 1opinion Sep 30, 2010

    I so wish they'd quit hyping the Carolina Beach flooding. The picture they show is actually a lake. There is supposed to be water in it. Now the water has overflowed into the road. It's happened many times. I played in it as a kid. So they show a picture and talk about the flood like it's an unusual event. The lake makes it look like it's huge, really not a big deal. The real property damage will be pretty close to zero yet we talk about it forever. The folks in kayaks are there only to get on TV, it's not like they have the paddle around to get anywhere. Hype!

  • CB Native Sep 30, 2010

    Carolina Beach Utility workers were told not to pump down the lake because a Town councilman was throwing a party for the locals, good call Dan.

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