08/01/05 — Showers make up for lost moisture

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Showers make up for lost moisture

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 1, 2005 1:49 PM

July ended on a rainy note for Wayne County, with an average of about an inch falling across the county over the weekend.

Mount Olive got about a month's worth of rain in a few hours Friday, when a storm dumped as much as six inches in some places.

Weather officials at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base reported this morning that the base received 1.04 inches of rain from Friday through Sunday, with .02 inches falling Sunday.

Overrall, Wayne got 6.54 inches of rain during the month, slightly above the July average of 6.4 inches.

The weekend rain was timely for Wayne farmers, said Kevin Johnson, an agriculture extension agent with the county Extension Service. He said the heavy rain will help boost development in corn, cotton and soybeans.

"The rainfall has helped," he said. "Right at around Patetown, we probably had 4 inches yesterday."

Forecasts called for a 20-percent chance of rain today and tonight, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms late in the week.

Mount Olive was hit hard by Friday's downpour. Some streets and parking lots were flooded. The water led to a sewer spill that totaled about 200,000 gallons from a manhole near the wastewater treatment plant and another on Norbert Wilson Road near Pump Station No. 1.

The town's public works director, Glen Holland, said today that the recent installation of a 24-inch outfall line from Bell Avenue to the treatment plant kept the spill from spreading to other parts of town.

"If we hadn't installed the outfall line, it would have been a whole lot worse in town," Holland said. "This is the most water I've seen since (Hurricane) Floyd" in 1999. "From just a spot shower, this is the most I've see in Mount Olive."

He asked the public to bear with town workers while they clean up from the flood, which seeped inside the Piggly Wiggly grocery store on Breazeale Avenue and also damaged several homes, driveways and vehicles on Crest Drive, College Street and Steele Street. Rushing water created a sinkhole the size of half a pickup truck on Norbert Wilson Road, Holland said.

The water came so fast, Holland said, he couldn't see how many manholes were releasing sewer water. He said town workers are concentrating today on cleaning up from the spills, repairing Norbert Wilson Road and clearing ditches.

"It will probably take us a couple of days," he said. "We need the public to bear with us. It's hard to get our normal duties done while cleaning up from the destruction from the flood."

During Friday's storm, lightning struck a water well operated by the town.

Chet Whitman, who manages the town's water system, was repairing the damage to well No. 3 today.

The lightning also shut down the master control panel that operates wells No. 3 and No. 5, he said. The strike damaged the No. 3 well's pump motor and may have damaged the shafts that go down into the well itself, Whitman said.

Despite the damage, water supplies were not interrupted.

"I got a call at 7 p.m., and we worked on it until 2 a.m. to get it put on the generator," Whitman said. The generator got the No. 5 well working again, bypassing the damaged control panel.

"We're OK so far as far as water is concerned."

Whitman said it could take five to 10 days to get the Well No. 3 working again.