Windsor residents clean up after flooding

Posted October 4, 2010 11:37 a.m. EDT
Updated October 4, 2010 10:54 p.m. EDT

— Residents and business owners in the Bertie County town of Windsor were starting to clean up on Monday after heavy rain from a storm last week left the town flooded.

The downtown area of Windsor was evacuated last Friday along with more than 40 residents from a nursing home.

The North Carolina State Emergency Response Team said the town is likely to remain under water for several more days. The roads reopened on Monday. Town leaders said there are just a few areas that still have standing water.

Gov. Bev Perdue visited the town on Sunday, comparing the damage to that caused by Hurricane Floyd’s floodwaters in 1999. Perdue encouraged anyone who rebuilds to elevate their buildings. She says people who did that after Floyd didn’t suffer any damage from the most recent flooding.

"Floyd was a little bit worse, of course. We had 2 feet of water in here, as opposed to a little over a foot this time," Joe Cherry said of his insurance agency on North King Street.

Cherry's agency was back in business on Monday to answer flood insurance claims.

Cherry said no one expected last week's rain to create such a disaster.

"We expected some flooding. Down around famous Bunn's Barbecue, it always floods a little bit, but we didn't expect this much," he said.

Bunn's Barbecue owner Randy Russell said he is relying on friends to help him clean up his historic restaurant, in business since 1938.

"We've been through hurricanes, tornadoes, everything. There's nothing like a flood, nothing really," Cherry said.

Ted Shaw, who owns a pool supply store, spent the weekend pulling up carpet from his business.

"Sunday, we came in and bleached and took the garden hose and washed all the water out to the street," he said.

Schools were closed on Monday in Bertie County. Classes resume on Tuesday.

On Monday, about 1,000 volunteers helped with clean-up efforts in Windsor, town leaders said.

Members of the North Carolina Baptist Men were working on 83-year-old Rachel Bazemore's flood-damaged home.

Bazemore was home on Friday night when the water started rising in the field near her home.

"I walked out from my carport and looked to the right, and I could not believe my eyes," she said.

Bazemore's entire neighborhood on North Carolina Highway 13 was flooded.

The water topped more than 3 feet in parts of Bazemore's home.

It wasn't the first time Bazemore has had to rebuild. She first restored her home after it was flooded during Hurricane Floyd. In 2006, she had to rebuild after a house fire.

With the N.C. Baptist Men's help, Bazemore will be able to remain in her home. 

The N.C. Baptist men will be increasing the number of volunteers each day. Organizers estimate they will have about 100 volunteers in Windsor by the end of the week.

Samaritan's Purse, a Christian organization, has also sent volunteers to Windsor.