Rain washes out low-lying areas
Posted June 16, 2009 5:23 a.m. EDT
Updated October 12, 2011 9:50 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A widespread downpour flooded parts of central North Carolina Tuesday, closing roads and intersections and forcing people from low-lying areas.
Emergency crews evacuated Brookhill Townhouse Apartments, 5425 Dana Drive in Raleigh. Buses were being brought in to rescue some of the residents.
Resident LaTonya Muldrow was trapped in her home with her two-week-old son.
“I got him. I ran upstairs and we just stayed upstairs,” Muldrow said. “Then someone came and busted in the door and said we had to get out.”
Muldrow and her child were among 60 people to escape the area on boats.
Jason Kim, a student at North Carolina State University, said a foot of water flooded his living room. Kim said he just about everything he owns. Despite having renter's insurance, he said it doesn't cover floods.
Kim returned home Tuesday afternoon to find puddles in his car, everything on the first floor of his apartment destroyed.
Flooding at Kim's apartment complex has happened before, residents said. Resident Abdou Ganour said since 2003 there have been three such floods.
Rising waters also caused Rock Quarry at Jones Sausage Road in Raleigh to be closed. Motorists are advised to use an alternate route.
Flooding along Fountain Drive was caused by an overflow at Southgate Creek, which feeds into Walnut Creek. Children from a nearby daycare center were taken by boat to safety.
“It’s been like this a couple of times, but it’s never been to the point where they’ve had to take the children out of the center,” neighbor Brenda Jones said.
Flood victim Antoinette Yeoman said she “panicked” as she saw the flood waters rising along. She said the first thing that came to her mind was the flooding that occurred in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
About 10 adults and two children were rescued by boat from the Southgate area. They were taken to the Biltmore Hills Community Center.
Flooding was also reported at the intersection of St. Mary's and W. Peace streets in Raleigh Tuesday morning.
Crabtree Creek was expected to crest at 18 feet, which could flood nearby buildings and businesses.
The flooding risk remains for Smithfield and Clayton.
The Neuse River near Smithfield is expected to rise above flood stage by Tuesday night and continue to rise to near 17.6 feet by Wednesday afternoon.
Smithfield Town Park, near the Highway 70 bridge, could see flooding Tuesday night.
The Neuse River near Clayton is expected to rise to nearly 10 feet around midnight. It is expected to fall below flood stage late Wednesday morning. Minor overflow on both banks is expected in Clayton.
In the map below, official reports of flooding or damage are indicated by a dark blue pin. Viewer reports are indicated by a light blue pin.
Heavy rains also caused Wake County officials to close Yates Mill County Park, 4620 Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh, where more than 5 inches of rain increased the pond's water level.
In Cary, the picnic shelter and playground at Marla Dorrel Park, 111 Thurston Drive, and the MacDonald Woods Park, 1601 Seabrook Avenue, are all closed through Friday.
Officials also noted that the Boathouse at Bond Park, 801 High House Road, will not be renting boats until the lake returns to normal levels.
Authorities urge caution
According to North Carolina Department of Transportation statewide crash data, rain or wet road surfaces were a factor in 175,056 crashes between 2003 and 2008. Of those, 777 crashes were fatal, and 60,341 involved injuries.
“The best ways to stay safe during this type of weather are to drive defensively and stay alert,” said Kevin Lacy, the DOT’s state traffic engineer. “No matter what kind of vehicle you drive, never drive through standing or rushing water.”
“We encourage people not to drive on flooded roadways and to use the reception center if they are in danger from flash flooding,” said Josh Creighton, Wake County Emergency Management director.
Wake County opened Garner United Methodist Church Tuesday to people who were flooded out of their homes by heavy rain.
At the church, at 201 Methodist Drive in Garner, people could find shelter, cots, blankets and pillows. Anyone seeking shelter was asked to bring personal identification and important documents, toiletries and medication, a change of clothing and books or games to spend the time.
About 14 victims were at the shelter Tuesday afternoon.