08/27/08 — County's Code Red system gets first test during Tuesday's storm

View Archive

County's Code Red system gets first test during Tuesday's storm

By Steve Herring and Anessa Myers
Published in News on August 27, 2008 1:52 PM

Wayne County's new Code Red emergency alert system was utilized for the first time Tuesday when the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the area of the county north of Dudley.

Heavy rains caused some localized street flooding in Goldsboro, but countywide, no problems were reported, said Delbert Edwards, county emergency communications supervisor.

News-Argus/Greg Sousa

Sean Dudley, left, Dave Anderson, center, employees at the Allstate Insurance Agency on Ash Street, and a man named Bill push a stranded motorist to safety after her car stalled due to heavy rains and street flooding on Ash Street near Pineview Avenue Tuesday

Much of the surrounding area remains under a tornado watch until 5 p.m. today.

A watch means conditions are favorable for tornados to form. The watch includes Wayne, Wilson, Johnston and SampsonCounty.

Edwards said he did not know of any damages or injuries resulting from the storm.

Goldsboro City Manager Joe Huffman said the city received slightly more than 2 inches of rain in an hour Tuesday afternoon, and that the storm drainage system just couldn't keep up, causing a backup of water onto downtown streets.

Public Works Director Neil Bartlett said Mulberry Street, William Street and the 900 block of Ash Street were hit the hardest -- "all the normal areas where we have problems when it rains like that."

"But once it stopped raining, the water was gone very quickly, in most cases, 15 to 20 minutes. The storm system was able to handle it very well, and get it out of the way then," Bartlett added.

Jason Beaman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh, said that although Goldsboro was "one of the heavier spots yesterday," the area won't see as much rain today, with expectations of all-day showers totaling about one inch overall.

Huffman says to help aid storm drainage with heavy rainfall in the future, residents should make sure they have pine straw and other lawn clippings out of the street so the debris doesn't clog drains.

"It's not that the pipes aren't big enough," he said. "It's that the water can't get to them."

Meanwhile, Mount Olive reported only a light rainfall.

"There were no problems," Town Manager Charles Brown said.

It was the same story in Pikeville and Fremont, neither of which received as much rain as Goldsboro.

"We did have a little bit of rain, but there were no real problems," Fremont Town Manager Kerry McDuffie said.

He said there are always some areas of standing water, but no major problems.

"We did not have that big a shower. It was a nice rain," said Pikeville Town Clerk Kathy Fields, adding that it caused no problems.

The Code Red system was triggered automatically by the National Weather Service alert and did not require any action in the part of the county, Edwards said.

People with listed telephone numbers are automatically included in the system. However, people with unpublished numbers or cell phones have to sign up to receive the emergency or weather alerts.

Edwards said that 393 people have signed up thus far in the area affected by the Tuesday alert. Of that number, 330 were reached.

Edwards said he was "pleased" with the percentage of people who were contacted.

"I'd like to encourage everybody who will to sign up," he said.

The county Web page, www.waynegov.com, has a link to the Code Red Web site where people may sign up.

Or, if they rather, people may add their names to a "do-not-call" list.

Across the state, the heaviest rainfall was in the region around Charlotte, where more than five inches of rain were recorded Tuesday at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport with more than three falling since midnight. The National Weather Service also said that as of 2 a.m., 5.22 inches of rain fell in Asheville and 2.9 inches were recorded at Hickory. Power also was out to more than 13,000 utility customers across the state, and tornado watches were issued in Davidson, Richmond, Montgomery and Randolph counties.