CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Flood victims are cleaning up and salvaging what they can Friday as repair crews begin the task of drying out homes and tearing out floors and walls.
The count here on Prince Street in west Charlotte is five homes flooded, two cars washed out and totaled, and a couple of families wondering what's next.
Every hit of a hammer, every rip of a baseboard and every clunk of a pile of debris hitting the ground is a reminder to Richard Stephan that his job fixing flooded homes for Preferred Restoration & Construction, Inc., carries an emotional toll and requires respect.
"These are people's lives, we have to tread lightly; these are their belongings."
Brittany Alexander pretty much lost everything except her 9-month-old baby's belongings.
Stewart Creek, which runs behind her house, ended up knee-high in every room Thursday night.
"The bathroom is all messed up, the kitchen literally destroyed," Alexander said. "This is the only place that we had."
How long until it's fixed depends upon what Stephan and his crew find.
"We'll open up all the walls that have water damage and at least there, figure out how far we have to go," he said.
A few more feet up and flooding would have damaged Rosalind Anthony's house.
She's lived here for 26 years and says this flooding is some of the worst she's seen.
Her neighbors ended up on her porch, a dry places to sit and wonder what to do next.
"It's hard to see people when they lose everything in a flood like that, that close, yeah," said Anthony.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services has crews out checking creeks for blockages and asking neighbors if they see debris blocking drains, to call 911, or clear it yourself.
Officials say one inch of water over one square mile totals 17 million gallons of water. And with all this rain, creeks are high, so are lakes and rivers and it doesn't take much right now to cause flooding.