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Heavy rain closes R-C area roads

On the heels of at least eight inches of rain this week, local rivers and streams flooded their banks while residents in low-lying areas nervously waited for the water levels to go down.

Some roads in the R-C area became impassable due to the fast-rising water, but only a handful remain closed as of the current time.

One of those anxiously watching the rising water is Alan Castelloe who serves as Administrator for the Town of Windsor. That town has bore the brunt of numerous weather-related events over the past few decades, including horrific flooding from several hurricanes.

“I think we’re going to be okay this time around,” said Castelloe early Friday afternoon. “We did a preemptive evacuation of the animals at the Livermon Park Zoo on Friday morning.”

Castelloe was waiting for the Cashie River, which flows through town, to crest later Friday. The National Weather Service’s Hydrologic Prediction team showed the Cashie cresting at around 11 feet between 2 pm Friday and 2 am Saturday. If that holds true, it puts the flooding at the “moderate” level (10-to-12 feet). The record is 18.52 feet that came after Hurricane Floyd in September of 1999.

“Whenever the rain quits, it takes about 24-to-36 hours for the river to crest here in Windsor,” Castelloe said. “From what we know at this point on Friday, we’re not expecting any flooding to our homes or businesses. There’ll be some minor flooding at the park and the water will probably cross King Street at Bunn’s BBQ like it always does when we get a big amount of rain, but I’m not expecting it to cause any damage.

“Mother Nature is going to do her thing….we can’t stop her, but we can move out of her way,” Castelloe added.

The following roads in the R-C area are closed due to high water according to the NC Department of Transportation website:

Parker’s Ferry in Hertford County closed until Monday;

Wakelon Road near Bakertown Road in Bertie County closed until 6 pm Saturday;

Sans Souci Road and Sans Souci Ferry in Bertie County closed until 8 am Monday;

Woodard Road near Cedar Landing Road in Bertie County closed until 6 pm Saturday;

Harrell Church Road off US 158 in Gates County closed until 5 pm Monday;

Hackely Road between US 158 and NC 37 in Gates County closed until 12 noon Monday; and

Gatlington Road near Boonetown Road in Gates County closed until 5 pm Monday.

There were several Northampton County roads that were impassable late Thursday into Friday, but were re-opened to thru traffic later in the day on Friday.

The entire state was impacted by this weather system, which was a strong cold front interacting with moisture from Tropical Storm Eta as it passed off the coast.

Three individuals were killed at a flooded campground in Hiddenite. A state search and rescue task force arrived Thursday night in Alexander County to assist in the search for two people who went missing from the same campground.

One death was reported in Wake County where a child drowned in a creek.

The State Highway Patrol reports several additional fatalities from weather-related collisions or accidents in Iredell, Alexander, Rockingham and Person counties.

The National Weather Service is estimating more than 9 inches of rain fell in Rocky Mount and Harrisburg. Many other areas saw estimated rainfall amounts between 4 inches and 9 inches, exceeding weather forecasts.

Flooding prompted hundreds of road closures, including a few interstate shutdowns and bridge washouts. As of Friday morning, the N.C. Department of Transportation reported more than 430 state-maintained road closures. The closures included hundreds of secondary roads from the mountains to the coast and stretches of highways, including I-95 north in Johnston County, I-795 in Wilson, U.S. 311 near the Virginia line in Rockingham County, N.C. 73 in Richmond County and N.C. 209 in Madison County, where state crews worked on Friday to repair the road damaged when a slope failed. Also, numerous bridges were damaged or closed due to flooding.

State transportation officials urged people to avoid traveling through flooded roads and never go around barricades. Motorists should continue to be careful as travel could be hazardous through the weekend and into next week.

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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