09/15/05 — Ophelia leaves little damage here

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Ophelia leaves little damage here

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on September 15, 2005 1:52 PM

Wayne County emergency management authorities reported no damage from Hurricane Ophelia. Duplin officials said damage was minimal, with a few tree limbs downed.

Mel Powers, Wayne's emergency management director, said today that his office had received no reports of damages to buildings and no reports of flooded roads or streets.

"I think we fared well," Powers said today.

He said the National Weather Service reported an average of 2.75 inches of rain across the county. Weather forecasts called for scattered showers and some gusty winds today across the county as the remnants of the storm moved through.

Crop damage from the storm was minimal, said Kevin Johnson, an agent with the Wayne County Agriculture Extension Office.

"I've talked to a handful of farmers, and damage is just minimal," he said this morning. "There is no structural damage that I know of."

Johnson said Ophelia's rains have helped more than hurt crops in Wayne County. "Crop damage, there's a few tobacco leaves that have blown off, but it's less than 1 percent damage probably," he said. "If anything, the rainfall's been really beneficial as far as our soybean crop, and to some extent our cotton crop."

Southern Wayne County received more rain, with 3 to 4 inches, Johnson said, while northern areas of the county got 2 to 21/2 inches. "There was more rain in Seven Springs, around Cliffs of the Neuse, down that way," he said.

"I hate it for the people on the coast, but we needed some rain desperately and this was nice," Johnson said.

The Agriculture Extension office expected to hear reports from more farmers today, but Johnson said he did not anticipate he would learn of any serious damage.

"We're very fortunate with this storm," he said. "It missed us. It didn't miss the coast, but as far as Wayne County goes, it wasn't Fran or Floyd, or nothing like that.

Mount Olive, which has suffered flooding on several occasions this year, had no reports of flooding from Ophelia. Town Manager Ray McDonald said precautionary measures worked.

"We divided the town up in four quadrants and each man kept debris out of the drains," he said. "We saw no indication of a flood all day, even on our streets."

Town workers dammed up the creek at Crest Drive and let the water flow onto some land the town bought. He said the water never left the creek bounds.

McDonald said that on College Street, where it has flooded in the past, town workers closed a section of the street and cut a canal across it Monday to let water flow across the street.

He said a pond installed by Mount Olive College kept the water off the Piggly Wiggly on Breazeale Avenue. The town put the pond in service Monday by building a dam of rocks and boulders. The pond slowed the water tremendously, he said, and it didn't even puddle up in the parking lot of the nearby shopping center.

"It held back right much water," he said, adding that none of the pipes or manholes flooded this time because of the controlled water. "It will take four inches easy. We learned that yesterday."

A few people in Wayne and Duplin temporarily lost power during the storm.

Bob Kornegay of Tri-County Electric Membership Corp. said today that only about 50 customers lost power over a scattered area Wednesday afternoon. Customers reported few problems overnight, and he said all the members were back on line this morning.

"In looking at the entire day yesterday and last evening we had a total of about 200 people without power," he said. "They were scatted over the system mainly related to tree limbs and trees down."

Tri-County has 10,000 members in Wayne County, almost 9,000 in Duplin and another 225 in Johnston County.

Wayne County Public Schools re-opened today. Classes were canceled Wednesday because of the threat of severe weather.

The Wayne County chapter of the American Red Cross shut down its shelters at Goldsboro Middle and Southern Wayne High schools at noon Wednesday. The remaining shelter at Spring Creek High School closed at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Red Cross Director Chuck Waller said based on information the Red Cross got from emergency management , which decides to open and close the shelters, there was no need to keep them open.

"They were open almost 24 hours and Wednesday morning, everyone started leaving," he said. "When the hurricane trekked farther to the east, it moved the harsher winds and weather to our east. So all we had was a little wind and rain."

All three shelters were opened by the Red Cross Tuesday at 8 p.m.

The Salvation Army shelter also closed Wednesday night.

Now that the Salvation Army has closed its shelter, it will concentrate on help for victims in the areas affected by Hurricane Ophelia, said Chris Lyles, corps assistant and Christian education director.

Lyles said Maj. John Wiley, Salvation Army commander here, has been in New Bern since Tuesday morning. The local Salvation Army is waiting on his call to take its mobile feeding unit over to the coast today where meals will be prepared and served from the unit.