Mall employees on Thursday morning could be seen frantically cleaning up muck and filth left from flooding due to the remnants of Tropical Depression Alberto, which forced officials to close the mall at noon on Wednesday.
Roads near the mall also flooded as nearby Crabtree Creek's water levels -- normally about 18 feet -- rose to nearly 23.77 feet by 4 p.m., the highest level since flooding from Hurricane Fran on Sept. 6, 1996.
All roads closed as a result of the flooding had reopened by Thursday afternoon, Raleigh public affairs specialist John Boyette said.
Mall officials said about a half-dozen stores -- including Sharon Luggage, Deb's, Children's Place, Rack Room Shoes, Bandolino Shoes, SunCoast and the lower level of Sears -- sustained extensive water damage, and would not reopen Thursday.
"We're extracting water from different stores," said Chad Price of Cary Reconstruction. "We're setting fans and dehumidifiers. We're cleaning up mud that got into the entryways and hallway."
Employees and customers were asked to park on the second, third and fourth levels of the mall's parking deck while crews continued to clean.
Mall officials decided to close the shopping center on Wednesday after problems with a drainage system in its parking deck. Shoppers were asked to leave, some took their chances driving through the floodwaters, and others were forced to abandon their cars near Edwards Mill Road.
Tow trucks worked quickly to remove as many cars as they could from the mall's parking decks before they flooded, but some were stranded and nearly submerged in water by Wednesday afternoon.
Cleanup extended beyond Crabtree Valley Mall to surrounding areas, including a nearby bank, where several people were also stranded, and two car dealerships. All cars at the dealerships were removed before water levels reached up to three feet and none of the inventory was damaged.
Other parts of Wake County hit hard by flooding on Wednesday reported very few, if any, major road closures as of Thursday afternoon. Part of Seabrook Avenue near Cary Parkway in Cary, however, was still closed because of a cavernous sinkhole measuring about 15 feet deep and 30 feet wide. That section was expected to stay closed for weeks as workers repair the road, a Cary town spokeswoman said.
When it would reopen was still unclear. Homes in the area do have water and sewer service, but pipes need to be replaced.
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