'This is when a community comes together'

'This is when a community comes together'


by GLENN COUNTS / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @GCountsWCNC


Posted on July 28, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 29 at 2:21 PM

CRAMERTON, N.C. – When the South Fork of the Catawba River crested, the Gaston County town of Cramerton took a direct hit from flood waters.

"I've been here 34 years and never seen it like this; I've seen it rise, but nothing like this," said Jim Williams, a resident.

Eighth Avenue took the brunt of the rising waters with the fire station, pharmacy, coffee shop and Presbyterian Church getting flooded.

(Click here to view photos)

"I'm 47-years-old, I've never seen it this high. In 2003 we saw where [flood waters] came to the step, but never past that," said Preston Guy, who co-owns Cramerton Pharmacy.

He says he feels lucky the damage was limited to the floor because he and his family and friends were out sandbagging till 1 a.m.

"There hasn't been any computer damage, no merchandise damage, just floor damage so we've been very blessed," said Guy.

Mayor Ronnie Worley says part of the reason damage was limited was thanks to volunteers who came from all over to help. Worley said nearby towns helped out with pumps, mutual aid for answering calls and sandbags.

"We had lots of help with sandbags; folks just from the community with people asking, ‘What can we do,’ a situation like this is when a community comes together," he said.

Even though the fire station took on some water, it never closed; firefighters bunked on the second floor and would have been able to respond to an emergency.

But the mayor says nothing flood-related came up.

Flood waters began to recede on the South Fork of the Catawba River early Monday morning after the river crested at about 17.31 feet-- more than seven-feet above flood stage, just before 5 a.m.

It is the river’s third highest level in history, surpassed only by a 21.3-foot crest in August 1940 and 17.38 feet in 1970.

Parts of Catawba, Lincoln and Cleveland Counties received up to a foot of rain Saturday as a result of a slow-moving rain system. 
The resulting flash floods were blamed for two deaths in Caldwell County.

Gaston County officials have warned people not to drive through flooded areas and keep the roads clear for emergency officials.