Downtown Windsor inundated; some roads still closed in Bertie

Published 10:35 am Monday, September 26, 2016

WINDSOR – This small town has yet again been victimized by the wrath of Mother Nature.

For the third time in 17 years, Windsor has experienced major flooding, this time seeing what was once Tropical Storm Julia consistently dump heavy rainfall over the Windsor area, leading the Cashie River to overflow its banks and flood downtown businesses and residential neighborhoods nearby.

“Those bands of heavy rain just wouldn’t stop; they kept coming, one after another,” said Windsor Mayor Jimmy Hoggard.

The Cashie River, which borders the town, rose to 15 feet and crested on Friday. Minor flooding along the Cashie occurs at eight feet.

“They’re saying the river will return to eight feet on Sunday,” Hoggard noted. “When we have significant rain like the storm this week, the water in the river rises fast, and then recedes equally as fast.”

The Mayor said downtown business owners are bracing for what they’ll see once the water level subsides to the point where it’s safe for them to enter their buildings.

“Unfortunately they’ve been through this before,” Hoggard remarked. “But the town is here to let our business owners know, as well as our citizens whose homes were flooded, that we’re here to help. The people of this town are resilient; we’ll stick together and get through this together.”

The Mayor stated that damage assessments are still being performed. There’s the possibility of a total of 60-to-75 homes and businesses that were impacted by the floodwaters.

NC Emergency Management, which sent two swift-water rescue teams to Windsor while a third unit arrived from Fayetteville, said in a statement that more than 100 people were rescued from their homes and vehicles in Windsor and in Bertie County. Another 60 individuals were evacuated from a nursing home located just on the outskirts of Windsor.

“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.

In the county, roads were flooded and closed in various spots. The majority of those were re-opened on Friday. However, Nowell Farm Road in the Colerain area remains closed as fast-moving water carved out a huge hole in the pavement.

There were reports as much as 17 inches of rain fell over the three-day period in Bertie.

Storm shelters were open by the American Red Cross at Bertie Middle School and West Bertie Elementary School. Some residents took advantage of those places of refuge from the flooding.

“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,” Hoggard concluded.