Gates water system remains under repair

Published 12:06 pm Thursday, October 13, 2016

Gates County is still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Matthew.

As of Wednesday, the county remained under a local State of Emergency. Additionally, work continues to repair a rupture in a main water line that serves customers of the public water system.

While the water line is being repaired, points of distribution for drinking water and MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) have been set up at the Hobbsville Fire Department, T.S. Cooper Elementary School and at the Gates County Emergency Operations Center (308 US Hwy 158 West).

“We will continue with this distribution until we run out of supplies and will distribute them one unit each per vehicle,” said Gates County Emergency Management Director Billy Winn said. “If you are a customer of the county water system and you were not affected by this break in the water line, please refrain from visiting any of the distribution sites. The water and MRE’s are only for those impacted by the interruption in their public water supply.”

Winn added that a Boil Water Advisory remains in place.

In Gates County, this unpredictable hurricane, whose actual path fooled even the world’s best forecasters, left local emergency responders scrambling to answer calls from stranded motorists and others caught off-guard inside their homes as the floodwaters rose quickly.

“Other than the water line issue, the infrastructure damage here isn’t as bad as it was during Floyd,” said Winn. “Our problem was the unpredictability of Matthew’s track. It wasn’t predicted to be that bad here, but we wound up with 12 inches of rain and tropical storm force gusts of 45 mph.

“I’ve always tried to encourage our residents to be prepared, even when the forecast may say otherwise,” Winn added. “That’s what happened here with Hurricane Matthew.”

As the rains soaked and flooded Gates County on Saturday into Sunday, Winn said emergency responders were busy performing water rescues.

“The National Guard and local assets performed numerous rescues and evacuations during the storm,” Winn noted. “Please, in you are out during a future rain event and notice water running across the highway, do not attempt to drive through it.”

The rushing water has forced the closure of several roads in the county as there are washouts on NC 32 south of Grants, and Parker’s Fork Road. Three other roads remain closed  – White Oak, Black Mingle and Honey Pot – as repair work continues from the last big rain event back on Sept. 19-21.

“All of our flooding came from rain; and most of that standing water is now gone,” Winn said. “ We’re not like our adjoining counties where flooding from creeks and rivers continues to be a major problem.”

On Monday, Winn went into what he referenced as “recovery mode.”

“Damage assessment teams began to spread out over the county on Monday,” Winn said. “If you were somehow missed by one of those teams and you suffered property damage from the hurricane, please call 357-5569 and report it.”

Winn added there is no immediate information that FEMA aid may be available for county residents.

“For right now, I would encourage those with damage to get in contact with your insurance company and file a claim,” he said.

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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