CHAPEL HILL – More heavy rain could test the creeks and storm water system in Chapel Hill just less than two weeks after it witnessed one of its worst floods in history.
“Be prepared to take care of yourself at the start of it all,” says Town of Chapel Hill’s Emergency Management Coordinator, Robert Bosworth. “And, if you get into a situation where it is life-and-death, that’s where the 911 calls are so important so that we can get the responders out to those areas. But, the biggest thing is to be aware of your situation.”
The Town’s Stormwater Management Division recorded 7.86 inches of rainfall between June 28 and July 1. The heaviest of the rain (5.06 inches) fell within 19 hours.
Though the waters receded, the area has seen small amounts of rain since then, which Bosworth says has not allowed the creeks and reservoirs to catch up.
“One of the things we were taught from a week and a half ago is just how quickly that can happen,” Bosworth says. “We’re sort of in that same vulnerable state just because there’s nowhere really for the water to go—we’re still so saturated on the ground.”
“Probably the biggest thing we’re doing to prepare is the recognition of how vulnerable we are and making sure we have those lines of communication up between the different departments so we can respond as quickly as possible,” Bosworth says.
Bosworth says it’s important for people who were affected—and everyone in the Town—to learn from last week’s flood.
“Because, we know just how quickly the water comes up,” Bosworth says. “You need to be thinking about where you’re going to park your car so that it doesn’t get damaged by flood. You need to be aware of when it starts raining and do you have a way to get away from (it) if you are in a flood-prone area so that you don’t get caught up in the flood; or, other measures such as sheltering in place. If you’re on a ground-floor apartment, do you know that you can go to the second floor and wait it out?”
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