State News

Roads closed, businesses damaged after Julia brings flooding to eastern NC

Posted September 23, 2016 3:57 p.m. EDT

— Schools remained closed in eastern North Carolina, a city's downtown was blocked off and waterways mixed with sewage on Friday after remnants of Tropical Storm Julia brought widespread flooding.

A news release from Elizabeth City reported that 1 million gallons of untreated wastewater flowed into the Charles Creek and the Pasquotank River.

City manager Rich Olson told the Virginian-Pilot ( that floodwaters had overloaded manholes, sending sewage into the city's storm water system and on into the waterways. The leakage began Wednesday and continued for about 24 hours, the city said.

Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency in 11 counties Thursday. Windsor received a foot of rain in three days.

School district websites in several counties also reported closings for a second day or more, including Bertie, Currituck and Hertford.

In Windsor, Police Chief James Lane asked people to stay out of downtown.

He said business owners need a chance to assess damage after flood waters inundated the business district. The Cashie River reached 15 feet on Thursday, 2 feet above major flood stage.

Frances McKeel said her mother owns a salon that was severely damaged by the flood waters.

"We're just moving stuff out today, to get it out of the water and to try to get it home and Clorox it, and clean it to see what we can save and what we can’t,“ she said.

Windsor Fire Chief Billy Smithwick said the river was dropping "pretty quickly" and that 35 homes had been damaged. The American Red Cross put that number at around 60 homes.

Rev. Gregory Gilliam said the World Harvest Christian Center had 3 feet of water inside.

"This is our third time going through the flood," Gilliam said. "Seeing the community rallying together, the community supporting you and all the outpouring of love on Facebook, it encourages you to stay where you're at."

In a news conference Friday, McCrory said there were a total of 138 water rescues in the area.

"It is another example of first responders doing their job," he said.