Several county roads and areas near the Tar River in Greenville are expected to remain flooded this week after the river crested at nearly 20 feet Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service reported.
Heavy rains associated with the tropical system Eta late last week pushed the river past flood stage over the weekend to 19.88 feet late Monday afternoon, said Shane Kearns, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Despite several early warnings, Greenville Fire-Rescue on Sunday had to help 21 people and their pets evacuate from their elevated homes at Dockside Duplexes on River Drive, Greenville spokesman Brock Letchworth said.
Several other people remained and were not in danger, he said. No other evacuations had been reported on Monday and no structural damage has been reported.
“It will slowly drop over the next few days to moderate flood stage (17 feet),” Kearns said. “By Friday morning it should be below moderate flood stage and then we anticipate a little bit more of a rapid fall. We should be below flood stage some time this weekend.”
Several areas along River Road along with the South Tar River Greenway, the city off-leash dog park and Town Common saw high water. Mumford Road near River Park North was flooded and is expected to be closed until Wednesday, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
“The water is high, but not as high as it was four years ago,” said Greenville resident Steve Zimmerman, who went to the dog park Monday to run his dogs, Sable and Tundra. He said the water crossed over nearby Ash Street and threatened to flood apartment buildings there after Hurricane Mathew in 2016. Dog park visitor West Cline of Greenville resident said the water was high in June as well.
Employees with Greenville Utilities Commission’s fleet maintenance staff reported the water behind its operations center on Mumford Road was rising but the location had not flooded, spokesman Steve Hawley said. Fleet maintenance is the one division that remains at the rear of that location.
GUC’s warehouse facilities, shops, equipment storage and dispatch center have all moved to the new operations center on N.C. 43 near its interchange with Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
GUC’s human resources office also remains at the Mumford Road location, Hawley said. However, it’s on higher ground closer to the road and isn’t expected to flood.
The state transportation department also reported that Creek Shore Drive, Jolly Ole Field Road, Sunny Side Road, Bud Parker Road, Hollard Road and Old River Road near Falkland are flooded. They are expected to open by Wednesday.
Kearns said while a number of the roads have few alternative routes, it’s important for people to not drive through the floodwaters.
“It’s deeper than you think and there is a reason why the roads are closed,” he said. “When it gets to these high levels, it’s important to stay safe and follow those orders.”
Not only can fast-moving waters sweep cars off the roadway, the road bed can be weakened by floods and washouts can compromise the road’s structure and safety.
Tar River flood levels reached nearly 30 feet after Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and 24.5 after hurricane Matthew in 2016.