CHAPEL HILL – With severe rainfall Sunday and Monday morning resulting in more than seven inches in less than 24 hours, emergency crews, firefighters and police responded to the flooding that hit Orange County.
In a statement by Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, he says that “the floodwaters displaced about 40 residents and caused damage to some public buildings and property, including Town Hall.” The first floor of Town Hall is currently closed but the rest of the building is open and functional.
Lisa Edwards, acting PIO for Chapel Hill, says the first floor will be repaired in a minimum of a week.
Smith Middle School was set up as a shelter for evacuees Sunday night. As of 10:30 a.m., there were more than 35 displaced peopel still at the shelter, according to Orange County Emergency Services director James Groves.
“Those numbers are going to fluctuate up and down today, depending on people going to work,” Groves says. “Also, some people were put up in the Red Roof Inn.”
With continuing rainfall expected, Groves explains the plan for emergency services to move in to prepare for potential flooding.
“As the water levels start to rise and they look like they’re going to be peaking like they did yesterday, we would be out in the neighborhoods well before the waters get high enough to cross the bridge,” Groves says.
According to Orange County public affairs officer, Carla Banks, clean-up on residential property is up to the residents, but for roads and other county public property, Groves says clean-up crews will be working in the area as long as conditions are safe.
“As long as it’s safe and there’s no water moving over the roadway that could sweep people away, we’ll begin our damage assessment process,” Groves says.
In other parts of the county, Meg Branson, senior vice president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, says its office is available for businesses who have been displaced but need to continue working.
“It is open today for people for people who need a space to work, to meet with clients or to coordinate clean-up efforts,” Branson says.
Volunteers who wish to help in the clean-up are asked to contact the American Red Cross.