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Flooding continues across area; Fair Bluff hardest hit; Waccamaw ‘stable’

Revised on: 10.17.2016 at 11:48 a.m.

Posted on: 10.12.2016 at 01:28 p.m.

Flooding rises from east to west

 

The river gages at Lock and Dam No. 1 on the Cape Fear may not be able to register how high water has gotten there, according to the National Weather Service.

A briefing sent out shortly before 1 p.m. said the equipment at the East Arcadia dam site was registering flat, even though the water level was visibly rising in the area.

“This is the first time the Cape Fear has exceeded flood stage since 1998, and it will exceed levels from Hurricane Fran by 1.5 to 2 feet,” said Richard Neuherz of the National Weather Service.

Flooding rises from east to west

 

The river gages at Lock and Dam No. 1 on the Cape Fear may not be able to register how high water has gotten there, according to the National Weather Service.

A briefing sent out shortly before 1 p.m. said the equipment at the East Arcadia dam site was registering flat, even though the water level was visibly rising in the area.

 

“This is the first time the Cape Fear has exceeded flood stage since 1998, and it will exceed levels from Hurricane Fran by 1.5 to 2 feet,” said Richard Neuherz of the National Weather Service. “It will be the highest the river has been here since 1945. We believe this gage has reached the highest level it can measure, which is why the observed trace is flat near 26 feet.”

At 26 feet, Sandyfield and Riegelwood are in danger of moderate flooding, as well as areas along Livingston Creek that are drained by the Cape Fear. First responders reported the water past the instrument building on top of the bluffs Wednesday morning.

The Waccamaw River observations closest to Columbus County come from Freeland and Longs, in neighboring Brunswick county and South Carolina. Freeland is expected to see the Waccamaw crest at 19 feet today, just below Hurricane Floyd, while Longs will crest close to the levels of Floyd Thursday or Friday.

County Manager Bill Clark said the flooding situation in the Crusoe area is basically “stable”.

“Right now most of the resources are being sent to Fair Bluff and the Boardman area,” Clark said.

There is no westward route out of the county, due to floodwaters and road damage, Clark said. The damage doesn’t stop at the county line, since roads into Robeson County and South Carolina are also either blocked or damaged. Busy Highway 9 in South Carolina remains closed as well.

“The roads are clear to Wilmington, but you can’t go west from Columbus,” he said. “If you have to go that way, the best bet is to go to Wilmington and hit Interstate 40.”

Major closures include U.S. 74 at Boardman; U.S. 701 at Western Prong; and N.C. 130 and N.C. 904 at their Waccamaw River crossings. Numerous secondary roads are seriously damaged or underwater, Clark said.

“You should avoid driving when possible,” he said. “We have a lot of roads that look okay, but are dangerously undercut. Driving at night is not a good idea.”

Old Dock Fire Chief Edwin Ezzell said plans are in place to distribute food and water to homes that are still isolated in the Crusoe, Old Dock and Nakina areas.

“We were better prepared this time than we were for Floyd or Fran,” he said.

Robin Mercer and her family rode the storm out at their home in Crusoe.

“We’re an island now,” she said. “Our pastures are a great big pond. I could go fishing in them.”

The family began moving their chickens, cattle and other animals to a relative’s farm well before the floodwaters began rising, Mercer said.

Mercer said some neighbors had as much as eight feet of water around and in their homes, but so far, “we’re okay.

“I think it’s slowing down,” she said Wednesday morning, “but it looks like it’s still rising some. We’re not planning to go anywhere, but we can take the boat and get out if we have to. This is our home, and we don’t want to leave it.”

 

The river was above the bluffs over the dam Wednesday morning, according to area first responders. At 26 feet, Sandyfield and Riegelwood are in danger of moderate flooding, as well as areas along Livingston Creek that are drained by the Cape Fear.

The Waccamaw River observations closest to Columbus County come from Freeland and Longs, in neighboring Brunswick county and South Carolina. Freeland is expected to see the Waccamaw crest at 19 feet today, just below Hurricane Floyd, while Longs will crest close to the levels of Floyd Thursday or Friday.

County Manager Bill Clark said the flooding situation in the Crusoe area is basically “stable”.

“Right now most of the resources are being sent to Fair Bluff and the Boardman area,” Clark said.

There is no westward route out of the county, due to floodwaters and road damage, Clark said. The damage doesn’t stop at the county line, since roads into Robeson County and South Carolina are also either blocked or damaged. Busy Highway 9 in South Carolina remains closed as well.

“The roads are clear to Wilmington, but you can’t go west from Columbus,” he said. “If you have to go that way, the best bet is to go to Wilmington and hit Interstate 40.”

Major closures include U.S. 74 at Boardman; U.S. 701 at Western Prong; and N.C. 130 and N.C. 904 at their Waccamaw River crossings. Numerous secondary roads are seriously damaged or underwater, Clark said.

“You should avoid driving when possible,” he said. “We have a lot of roads that look okay, but are dangerously undercut. Driving at night is not a good idea.”

Old Dock Fire Chief Edwin Ezzell said plans are in place to distribute food and water to homes that are still isolated in the Crusoe, Old Dock and Nakina areas.

“We were better prepared this time than we were for Floyd or Fran,” he said.

Robin Mercer and her family rode the storm out at their home in Crusoe.

“We’re an island now,” she said. “Our pastures are a great big pond. I could go fishing in them.”

The family began moving their chickens, cattle and other animals to a relative’s farm well before the floodwaters began rising, Mercer said.

Mercer said some neighbors had as much as eight feet of water around and in their homes, but so far, “we’re okay.

“I think it’s slowing down,” she said Wednesday morning, “but it looks like it’s still rising some. We’re not planning to go anywhere, but we can take the boat and get out if we have to. This is our home, and we don’t want to leave it.”

 

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