Caution urged in storm’s wake

Published 7:59 pm Saturday, October 2, 2010

Staff Writer

Even though the downpour has subsided, residents of Beaufort County are being asked to remain cautious in the immediate future until the threat of flooding dies down.
Several roads were closed Friday, including U.S. Highway 264 at Tranter’s Creek near the Beaufort County-Pitt County line. Both U.S. Highway 17 north toward Old Ford and N.C. Highway 33 between Aurora and Greenville reopened after being closed earlier in the day.
“We have little data that can predict when the creeks will crest,” said Beaufort County Manager Paul Spruill. “We will be suffering road closures throughout the day.”
From 4:30 p.m. to midnight Thursday, the Washington Police Department’s communications center received more than 275 emergency calls for help.
Roughly 90 people had to be evacuated from housing units because of floodwaters, especially in the Heritage Park area off Minuteman Lane and in the vicinity of U.S. 264 and Voice of America Road. Thirty-seven people spent Thursday night at the shelter located at P.S. Jones Middle School. The shelter was expected to remain open through midday today.
The county provided a school bus to allow evacuees to return to their homes for personal items. Electrical power had been shut off to the units for safety reasons.
Emergency-management officials were considering a voluntary evacuation notice and possible driving restrictions for Friday night.
The heavy rains caused sewage problems for Belhaven as the Pantego lift station overflowed because of sewage overflow from areas in northeastern Beaufort County served by the Belhaven sewer system.
“We are trying to get it under control, but we need the rain to stop,” said Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal. “The sewer and water departments have done an outstanding job during the storm to minimize the problem. This sewer thing is a big problem, and it’s an issue that the town has a 6-inch pipe going into a 4-inch pipe. We’re trying to get a (sewer) bypass around the town to help the flow.”