09/14/05 — Mount Olive has measures ready to stop flooding

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Mount Olive has measures ready to stop flooding

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on September 14, 2005 1:47 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Cleo Phillips of Smith Chapel Road in Mount Olive was delighted when she looked out her window this morning and saw only a gentle rain coming down.

That was the only effect of Hurricane Ophelia early today in the Mount Olive area, which has several neighborhoods that suffered flooding damage this summer during a sudden torrential downpour.

Some homes in Phillips' neighborhood were flooded during a heavy storm this summer and a ditch behind her home fills up with run-off from other streets whenever there is a heavy rain, she said, but she said she wasn't particularly worried as storm forecasts called for Ophelia to only drop moderate amounts of rain across the region

"It's not even raining here," she said later in the morning. "Everything is so dry it's soaking in, which is good. We're delighted. We want some rain, but not like we've been having."

Mount Olive town officials were working this morning to prepare for the worst. The water plants' three generators were filled with fuel and on stand-by. Water supervisor Chet Whitman said everything was operating as normal, but "wait and see is all we can do."

The mayor and town manager were in conferences, making sure all precautions against flooding and damages were being taken.

Moses King, the manager of the Piggly Wiggly grocery store that flooded out this summer, was preparing to meet with town officials, who had called him this morning to assure him the town was taking all precautions to protect his business.

"They're alert and prepared to take any measures in case we do have excessive rain," King said. He said he, too, has taken steps to protect his store. Flood panels are ready to be installed at a moment's notice he said, and he has sandbags ready in case they are needed.

King also said he has a generator ready in case of the loss of electric power.

Dan Oliver of Progress Energy was on his way to a conference call with other electric company officials to prepare for the possible loss of power should Ophelia intensify as it approaches the area.

He said some utility trucks that had been headed to the Gulf Coast to help with restoring power in the wake of Hurricane Katrina had been recalled in case they are needed in eastern North Carolina.