09/01/06 — Tree downs power lines near Lionel and Holly

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Tree downs power lines near Lionel and Holly

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on September 1, 2006 1:50 PM

A Goldsboro woman was evacuated from her home this morning as heavy rains from Tropical Storm Ernesto flooded the area surrounding her home on Alabama Avenue, officials said.

A few blocks over, Henry Jinette noticed a large limb blocking Beech Street and tried dragging it out of the road to help his neighbors avoid the debris.

"I just saw it there," he said. "I tried to drag it, but it wasn't going to move."

A few moments after his failed attempt, a city crew showed up to relieve Jinette. All they needed to clear the branch was 30 seconds and a backhoe.

Elsewhere around the city, flooded streets, downed power lines and debris-covered roadways caused problems for morning commuters and city crews.

General Services director Joe Sawyer said he has a full staff working the streets today and that so far, the biggest problem reported to his office involved a fallen tree that took down power lines near the intersection of Holly and Beech streets early this morning.

"We've got some trees down and some of the limbs have hit power lines," he said, adding some traffic lights have lost power as a result.

Flooding has also been reported, Sawyer added.

"There has been a lot of flooding around the town, but not too many streets are," he said. "Probably about six or seven."

Portions of Graham, Herbert and Walnut streets have been blocked off by city crews, Sawyer added, and drivers are encouraged to proceed with caution and avoid driving through standing water.

City Manager Joe Huffman said in comparison to other parts of the state, "we're looking pretty good."

"All in all, it's pretty much just a regular storm event," he said. "Now, there are some streets with standing water, but we've got our crews out there trying to help."

Sawyer said while he anticipates a busy morning, crews will likely wrap-up the cleanup effort quickly.

"We think the worst is over," he said. "We'll probably have it all done by this afternoon."

Huffman agreed that the worst has more than likely passed, but cautioned that there still may be issues with rising water levels in the coming days.

"We get flood stage information from the Army Corps of Engineers and they are anticipating a crest in about three days," he said.

Huffman added he expects an updated report from the group to come in sometime today.

"I will know a lot more in a couple of hours," he said. "Sometime this morning, we should be getting a report from the corps of engineers. Right now, we don't anticipate a lot of problems."