11/22/06 — Rain puts damper on holiday traveling

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Rain puts damper on holiday traveling

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 22, 2006 1:46 PM

Just when it seemed Goldsboro and Wayne County residents had recovered from last week's flooding that left drivers stranded and front yards under water, rain that started Tuesday is bringing a whole new set of woes to area residents.

High water on the roadway at Olivia Lane and Carver Drive trapped a Goldsboro woman this morning. She was rescued by a Goldsboro firefighter who responded to an emergency call made shortly after 7 this morning.

The woman, who was not identified, apparently misjudged the water level and drove through the high water that had backed up into the area and reportedly spilled into Lincoln Homes apartments, Lt. Don Collier said.

"Her car stalled out on her," Collier said. "Really, it was too deep, that's why it stalled out."

Firefighters cautioned residents not to drive into high waters because the result could spell tragedy. If there are puddles of water on the road, and you can't see the curb, don't attempt to drive through, they said.

"If you see water across the roadway, don't go across it because you don't know how deep it is," Collier said.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning this morning for the better part of the state, including Wayne County.

Officials are urging holiday travelers to keep an eye out for standing water on roadways from overflowing ditches, streams and creeks until close to 6 p.m.

Some roads across the region -- and county -- have already been closed due to flooding. N.C. Department of Transportation officials said Lee's Country Club Road is one of them and that more could closures could come if rains continue.

Goldsboro Public Utilities director Karen Brashear has been monitoring water levels at the Neuse River for the past few days and said they are continuing to rise.

"Right now, we're at 17.2 feet, and it's rising," she said at just after 9 this morning.

Eventually, those levels will hit 18 feet and the flood stage, she added. Still, she isn't worried about major problems.

"We're just about there now," Ms. Brashear said. "We don't really expect to have any problems. The only ones we'll have are if manholes go under water."

If that happens, there will be a higher volume of water coming into the waste water plant, she added.

Wayne County Emergency Management Director Mel Powers said the county is experiencing minimal widespread flooding. Since much of the rain fell west of the Neuse, he said the basin will begin to fill and send rainwater toward the river.

"We forecast the river to crest tomorrow morning at 19.5 feet, which is about a foot and a half above the flood stage. It might have an effect on one or two roads," Powers said.

The river will sink down again before rainwater from Raleigh travels down to the Neuse in the next two to four days, he added. Then, the river will rise again, but isn't expected to cause many problems.

"We're going to keep an eye on it for the next few days," he said.

Powers said he expects the heaviest rains have already fallen in Wayne, but residents should still be cautious of the wind. Gusts could be as high as 47 mph, which can cause shallow-rooted trees to be uprooted.