Flood waters return Monday along Carolina coast

Posted October 5, 2015 11:12 a.m. EDT
Updated October 5, 2015 5:54 p.m. EDT

— After days of rain, residents of the barrier islands of the Outer Banks and coastal communities in North Carolina slogged through streets flooded up to the waist and waited out another high tide.

Mona Kharbat and her children put on boots when the water began rising in their basement. By Monday afternoon, the Kharbats' home on Wilmington's Edgewater Club Drive was no longer on the edge but surrounded by water.

"I'm worried about more rain, and I wonder how we get rid of this water," she said.

Water and sand swamped low-lying areas, including the vital north-south N.C. Highway 12 and dozens of other thoroughfares, over the weekend, receded Monday morning and surged again Monday afternoon.

In downtown Wilmington, city crews were able to reopen roads, but they kept the barricades close by in anticipation of another surge. New Hanover County offices and courts were closed.

Bryson and Ida Epting, who live part of the year in Southport, said the flooding was a little more than they are used to.

"They call it historic, I guess it is," he said. "We’ve seen flooding here, but nothing like this."

Most coastal counties are under a flood warning through Monday evening. Wind gusts of up to 35 mph were churning up the surf, sending some overwash under beachfront homes.

Carteret County was operating under a state of emergency Monday in anticipation of another 4 to 5 inches of rain. Brunswick County canceled school for Tuesday.

National Parks Service campgrounds along the Outer Banks were closed to visitors, but the Wright Brothers National Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site were open. Ferry service to Ocracoke Island was suspended through Monday, and the island was closed to visitors.

Over the past five days, while Raleigh saw 7.68 inches of rain, Wilmington got almost double that amount (13.98 inches). Hatteras had slightly over 6 inches of rain while Oriental saw 7.29 and Southport 9.7 inches.

In Cumberland County, rain was still falling through the morning Monday, but the problems of the weekend – a threat to the temporary dam on Glenville Lake and power outages for customers of the Fayetteville Public Works Commission – had passed.

"As long as the rainfall passes and we don't have a repeat of Friday, we feel like we'll be fine," said Carolyn Justice-Hinson, a PWC spokeswoman.