CHAPEL HILL- The rain kept falling Wednesday morning, even as town and county officials came together to update the community on efforts to clean up and dry out in Chapel Hill.
Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt told the crowd that Sunday’s rains and flooding were unlike anything the town has experienced in the past.
“We experienced an historic rainfall here in Chapel Hill. Five to seven inches in a 24 hour period proved to be too much for our facilities,” said Kleinschmidt.
And there may be unexpected problems in the days to come.
Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue warned that fraudulent contractors may soon start going door-to-door, looking to profit from unwary flood victims.
“Those contractors are going to come knocking on doors sooner than any of us are ready for, I’m sure,” said Blue.
He urged residents to check with the Better Business Bureau and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce for a list of approved contractors who are familiar with local regulations.
Chapel Hill Fire Chief Dan Jones said the area will see an explosion of mosquitoes, which could pose a health threat.
“Think about children that are in play areas where there maybe standing water in grass, because the mosquito influx from this amount of water is going to be huge,” said Jones.
With more rain in the forecast, Chief Jones once again warned residents not to drive through flood water, as even just a few inches are enough to pose a danger to motorists. He said emergency officials had multiple calls to rescue people trapped in stalled vehicles during Sunday’s storm.
Orange County declared a state of emergency on Tuesday. Orange County EMS Director Jim Groves said damage assessment teams are taking stock, and there is the possibility that flood victims could receive state or federal aid.
Sunday’s flooding left more than 130 residences uninhabitable. About nineteen displaced people are staying in the temporary shelter set up at Smith Middle School, while many more are staying with family or friends. Groves urged the community to reach out with any available resources.
“If people have spaces available, we encourage them to contact the social services office,” said Groves. “Also if they have clothing that they want to donate or if they have money that they want to donate to these victims, they can write a check to our department of social services.”
Officials stressed that while the clean up efforts are progressing smoothly, full recovery from the flooding could be weeks, or even months away.
If you’d like to help, or if you need help recovering from Sunday’s floods, check out the resources listed below: