Flood waters submerge portions of Charlotte

Morgan at Sinclair

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by AMY COWMAN, TONY BURBECK, GLENN COUNTS & WCNC.com staff

WCNC.com

Posted on July 11, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 12:28 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Flash floods spread through the Charlotte area after heavy rain began pouring in the region around 8 a.m.

Click here to see pictures of Thursday's flood waters

The Charlotte Fire Department responded to 27 flood incidents and five water rescues. Some residents voluntarily evacuated, but no official mandate was ever in place. No one was hurt, but fire officials advise to avoid driving through high water and to keep kids and pets away.

While no injuries were reported, the water did disrupt many neighborhoods.

Residential flooding

Morgan Street and Sinclair Street were closed because of flooding into the late morning. The water completely submerged nearby streets and fire crews helped get residents out of their homes. The Charlotte Fire Department cleared drains clogged with debris. The flood water receded by noon and was streaming easily into the gutters. The fire department says the Storm Water Department is responsible if they clog again.

The Red Cross opened a shelter at 2 p.m. at NW School of Arts on Beatties Ford Road to help anyone displaced for the floods. The shelter closed by Friday morning, but Emergency Management says several people spent the night.

Flood waters also caused a diesel tank to fall at a Charlotte business. Fire and hazmat crews responded to Tench Backhoe in the 4000 block of Oakdale Road. Flood waters caused the half-empty tank to float and roll. Crews put down booms to keep diesel from leaking into Long Creek.

A West Charlotte daycare is suffering a loss after flood waters filled their yard. Playground equipment at Jani's Daycare was damaged and debris from up Morgan Street flowed  into their yard damaging the back fence. The owners say they hope the city will help cover clean up costs

In another part of West Charlotte, a family was run out of their home when sewage came spewing inside.

Allison Zoeck says her kids weren't home when flooding happened, causing the raw sewage to flow through her shower, sink and toilet. She says the city claims they can't help because the home didn't have the proper piping. Now everything her family had is destroyed and she doesn't know what they'll do.

"I have no clue we have no clothes no toys or beds, it was all ruined, everything," said Zoeck.

NBC Charlotte tried to speak to the city inspectors who came to their home but they declined to talk.

Rising creeks

More flooding along lakes and creeks is a big concern Thursday with even more rain coming.

Four-and-a-half inches of rain fell in some parts of Charlotte, officials said.
It is too much water too fast for already full creeks to handle.

Stewart Creek spilled over its banks Thursday and inched toward Betty Clark's house, and about a dozen others on Abelwood Road.

The thought among neighbors was "here we go again.”

"Every year is the same thing. We have this flood problem," said homeowner Jesse Young.

Crews tried to alleviate the problem months ago by digging out dirt and adding rocks.

Clark kept a notebook and pictures of the progress.

"They didn't guarantee me that it would work because of development and all kinds of things change the flow of the creek," she said.

Neighbors say Thursday's flood is proof it didn't work.

"We've gotten nowhere with this," said neighbor Tammy Hill.

Clark says it is working.

The last big flood prior to the repair brought water up about four feet high to the back of her house. This time it was nowhere close to that high.

The water receded as fast as it rose.  There were no water rescues and no mandatory evacuations.

Two dogs chained to their dog houses needed to be rescued as flood waters rose.

"Luckily, it has not come into the house," said Hill.

One woman got a little bit of water in her basement coming up through the baseboards, but it was small enough to clean up with a towel.

Repeating problem

The rapidly rising water quickly filled Abbot Park in west Charlotte, turning it into a temporary lake.

The water backed up Spruce, Merriman and Wilmore Streets forcing some residents to evacuate.

"Somebody came to my door and just told me to get out. And I looked and saw this, so I knew it was time to because I have never seen it like this," said Michelle Hagans, a resident.

Other neighbors helped to push cars out of the way. Jeffery Russell has seen this show before. It’s his second flood.

"It's stopped there. I don't know how bad it's going to be this time. I don't know. I am worried about everything," said Russell.

Firefighters helped to rescue pets and kept an eye on the bridge over Irwin Creek at West and Barringer out of concern that the water would top the bridge forcing them to close it.

"We want to err on the side of safety. If water does exceed the level and crosses the bridge we are prepared," said Capt. Eric Whithers of the Charlotte Fire Department.
 

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