HC dries out after three-day deluge

Published 10:39 am Monday, September 26, 2016

The local state of emergency is over in Hertford County, despite the presence of a few roads still impassable due to high water.

Hertford County Emergency Management Director Chris Smith said the state of emergency was lifted effective at 5 p.m. on Friday. The same day and time applies to the emergency status declared by the Town of Ahoskie.

Meanwhile, Smith said there remain some trouble spots – NC 45 on the Harrellsville side of the Wiccacon River Bridge, Wiccacon Road (near the same location), a washout area on Underwood Road near Murfreesboro, and Benthall Bridge Road (at the twin bridges) between Murfreesboro and Menola.

“It appears that the Ahoskie Creek has leveled off and the water level has reached its crest,” Smith said on Friday afternoon.

Ahoskie Creek measured 13.59 feet at 4 pm Friday, up from a shade just under 2 feet on Sept. 19 The all-time record is 17.3 feet in 1999 from Hurricane Floyd.

However, the water level in the Potecasi Creek is still rising.

“That’s due to all the water flowing downstream from Northampton County,” Smith said. “But it does appear that the rise in water level is slowing down and getting near the point of reaching its crest.”

At 4 pm on Friday, the measuring gauge at the Potecasi Creek bridge spanning NC 11 measured 20.77 feet, up from 3 feet on Sept. 19. It was at 19 feet at 4 p.m. Thursday and climbed another foot 12 hours later.

Smith added that he hoped NC 45 will reopen to through traffic today (Saturday).

“There are no gauges measuring the amount of water in the Wiccacon, but to my eye it appears to have leveled off and even gone down a bit,” Smith noted. “Hopefully it will continue to recede and reach the point where 45 can be fully reopened to all traffic.”

As far as residential flooding, Smith said there were a few isolated spots in the county where the water rose high enough to reach the foundations of some homes.

“I have not been advised by any homeowner in our county where there was water inside a residence,” Smith said. “There were a few trouble spots out on the Benthall Bridge Road near the Northampton County line and just outside of Ahoskie on US 13 South near the muffler shop and the DT Road. There was some water under those homes due to flash flooding, but apparently none of that water got inside those homes.”

Smith added that he hoped to complete next week an estimate of damages inflicted by the flooding.

“I would say that considering we received anywhere between seven to nine inches of rain over a stretch of 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. Thursday on the Ahoskie-Cofield Road.

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

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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