Creeks, rivers still rising

Published 1:08 pm Thursday, September 22, 2016

Local residents beware….it may get worse before it gets better.

With reports of up to 17 inches of rain over three days in some locations, local rivers and creeks continue to swell and overrun their banks.

As expected, the town of Windsor is the hardest hit area locally.

“We’re flooded again downtown,” said Windsor Mayor Jimmy Hoggard. “The Cashie River is still rising and we think it’s fairly close to cresting. It crested at 14.5 feet near the high school last night (Wednesday) but it always takes about 18-to-24 hours for that water to move downstream to us.”

While Windsor deals with yet another major flood, the good news, thus far, is there are no reported injuries.

“We had to evacuate some folks last night and early this morning from their homes here in town, but I’m not aware of anyone being injured in the process,” Hoggard stated.

“Our fire department did a great job, as usual, in working to help those in need,” the Mayor continued. “Unfortunately, based on the past storms and flooding, we’ve had way too much experience in rescuing people.”

Hoggard also commended the help Windsor received from fire departments and law enforcement officials in neighboring communities. He said additional manpower came from NC Wildlife officials, the NC Forest Service, the NC Highway Patrol and others.

“And, believe it or not, we have yet to lose power here in town,” Hoggard noted.

As far as the roads, Hoggard said US 13 just north of town was closed at Edgewood Church. However, US 17 bypass (north and south) is open.

“You just can’t get to our downtown area,” he stressed.

“This storm was basically nothing when you compare it to the likes of (hurricanes) Floyd, Irene and Nicole. But when you get 14 inches of rain in three days, and I’m hearing that number may be higher in some spots in our county, all that water doesn’t go away quickly. The good news for us is when the Cashie finally crests and starts dropping, that flood water goes away pretty quickly,” Hoggard concluded.

In Hertford County, Emergency Management Director Chris Smith said water levels in the Ahoskie Creek, Potecasi Creek and Wiccacon River are still rising.

“I’m expecting none of those to crest until later today or tonight,” Smith said as he was traveling on NC 45 near Harrellsville to check on the status of road conditions there.

“What we do not know at this point is how long it will take the floodwaters to travel downstream,” he added.

Smith did note that the water was crossing NC 45 on the Harrellsville side of the Wiccacon. He also referenced that NC 561 was closed at the Chickipin Creek bridge; Underwood Road near Murfreesboro; DT Road south of Ahoskie; Thomas Bridge Road near Cofield; Vinson Road; and Parkers Fishery Road are closed due to high water.

Parker’s Ferry is not operating today due to high water in the Meherrin River.

“I would say that considering we received anywhere between seven to nine inches of rain over the past three days, we faired pretty well,” Smith said. “We’ve had a lot of car accidents due to drivers encountering flooded roads, but none of those accidents have been serious.”

There was one small portion of Hertford County just north of Murfreesboro as well as into the northeast corner of Northampton County that showed a three-day rainfall total of 12.31 inches according to the National Weather Service.

Smith said there was a house fire of unknown origin around 6:30 a.m. this morning (Thursday) on the Ahoskie-Cofield Road.

Additionally, a family was rescued from their home near Eddie Harrells Muffler Shop on US 13 south of Ahoskie due to rapidly rising water.

Hertford County remains under a State of Emergency that was declared late Wednesday afternoon. Ahoskie enacted a State of Emergency as well. Neither of those declarations carry a curfew nor do they impact the sale of alcohol.

“I feel fairly certain that those declarations will remain in place until the water recedes from our highways,” Smith noted.

He added that a reassessment of the county will be performed later today.

Other rainfall totals since Monday across the R-C area include 9.11 inches in Conway and 11.17 inches in Corapeake. Those totals are from the National Weather Service office in Wakefield, VA.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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