Belhaven area experiences prolonged flooding

Published 9:19 pm Wednesday, October 12, 2016

BELHAVEN — The Town of Belhaven can’t seem to get back to normal.

After the town weathered Hurricane Matthew relatively well, subsequent winds and water sources reaching capacity after the hurricane has prevented flooding in Belhaven from subsiding completely.

“If the wind gets stronger, the water gets deeper,” town Manager Woody Jarvis said. “We’ve got just enough to keep us from getting back to normal.”

Jarvis said a northeasterly wind is pushing water back toward the town, and flooding is still a problem along Main Street and back in some of the neighborhoods.

“Considering that as long as the wind drives the water into town, it’s coming up out of the gutter, and that’s how it gets us,” he said.

In the past week, town officials have had to close off a few roads, including portions of Main and Pamlico streets, Old County Road and Pantego Street. Jarvis said there are also a few areas with storm damage that the town is keeping an eye on.

Belhaven area farmers also took a hit with the flooding associated with Matthew, and many crop fields still have standing water.

Jarvis said he is particularly concerned about how the lingering floodwaters are affecting some of the businesses in downtown Belhaven, as well.

As of Wednesday, T&L Variety Store, the Belhaven Community Chamber of Commerce, Fish Hooks Café and O’Neals Snack Bar — all of which are located on Main Street — had been unable to open.

“This is really, really serious for these business owners,” Jarvis said. “It’s not anything that we haven’t had before, but it really concerns me because it’s adversely affecting a few of the businesses.”

He said it is a frustrating situation, as the weather is sunny and warm, but these business owners aren’t able to open their doors or make profits.

Jarvis said he refers to it as “nuisance flooding,” and when it subsides is left out of Belhaven’s control.

“There’s a lot of gallons of water out there in the creek and the sound,” Jarvis said. “It kind of depends when the weather man decides to let the wind subside. Anything with east attached to it is what drives the water.”