Eastern NC under state of emergency for flooding

Windsor downtown is underwater as Piedmont counties send in emergency responders.

Courtesy of Fen Rascoe—0
Residents take to boats in Windsor

WINDSOR, N.C. — Bertie County schools operated on a two-hour delay Friday as a 10-block area of downtown Windsor remained submerged from 18 to 20 inches of rain that fell on the area from Tropical Storm Julia. Local officials warned residents to stay out of downtown as business and homeowners assess the damage.Calling it a 100-year rainfall event, Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency in 11 counties, including Bertie, Chowan and Hertford counties.The Cashie River rose 15 feet on Thursday, two feet above the official flood stage. The Elizabeth City government is reporting that a million gallons of untreated wastewater from its sewage collection system leaked into Charles Creek a tributary of the Pasquotank River. Officials say the discharge occurred on Wednesday for approximately 24 hours. In Edenton, flooding in low-lying areas caused a backup in the sewage system, with sewage spilling out through manhole covers.”The flood we experienced in Edenton from the rainfall was created because our system just couldn’t handle the rain in the volume it was coming down. Our pumps and lift systems were working, but really there was nothing we could do except wait for it to stop and let the systems catch up, which it did,” said Edenton Mayor Roland Vaughan, who said the town was largely back to normal on Friday despite some washed out roads.Meanwhile in neighboring Windsor, Fire Chief Billy Smithwick estimates that 35 homes have been damaged, but the Red Cross says the figure for the area is closer to 60.”Unfortunately the river that runs through Windsor is one that can’t hold a lot of excess rainfall.” said Mayor Vaughan, a lifelong resident of Northeastern N.C. “They’ve had flooding in years past and now it’s happened again.”The cities of Greensboro and Fayetteville sent swift water rescue teams to help with more than 60 rescues across Eastern N.C. Bertie High School and West Bertie Elementary School were used as shelters during the evacuation.