When it rained, it poured: Spigot from Florence keeps running in Rowan

Published 12:15 am Monday, September 17, 2018

By Mark Wineka

SALISBURY — Jeffrey and Melissa Redman were getting ready for church about 8:45 Sunday morning when it happened.

Melissa described it as a loud bang. Jeffrey said, “It sounded like an earthquake.”

A massive oak tree in their neighbor’s yard had uprooted and fallen onto the top of their carport and house. “It destroyed my van and the majority of my house,” Melissa said.

The couple’s three daughters were still in bed at their home off Fieldstone Drive, not far from Webb Road. No one was hurt. But the fallen tree punched holes into much of house, making it impossible to stay there Sunday.

A friend from Rowan Christian Assembly provided them a place to stay Sunday night. During the day Sunday, friends and church members helped with some cleanup.

The power was cut off, and the Bostian Heights Fire Department and Red Cross came by to check on the family.

That was just one of the stories Sunday in the slow, continuing assault of tropical depression Florence as it continued to dump rains on Rowan County.

At Morgan Elementary, the school’s water tower, holding 4,500 gallons and providing water pressure for the school, fell over during the rain and wind.

When the water tower fell it also damaged one of the mobile home classrooms at the school, along with a sidewalk.

A Rowan-Salisbury Schools maintenance crew was on the scene Sunday afternoon, and the school system will have at least Monday to work on repairs and solutions without students.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools will be closed Monday for students. (See the accompanying story.) Kannapolis Schools also will be closed, as are Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Livingstone College and Catawba College.

The big concerns heading into Sunday evening became the rising levels of area creeks. In Salisbury, Town Creek and Grants Creek were only a couple feet below their banks about 5 p.m. Sunday, according to Craig Powers, who heads street operations. As of 7:45 p.m., Innes Street was closed at Arlington Street due to flooding concerns of Town Creek.

“The creeks are rising, they’re up,” he said, adding that city staff  were closely monitoring them.

Before dark, the city moved to ask residents of the Salisbury Mobile Home Park off Bringle Ferry Road to evacuate before Town Creek flooded their homes. That has always been a trouble spot during flooding.

The Spencer Fire Department also reported water approaching the tops of bridges on Seventh Street and Third Street at Hollywood Drive.

Steve Monday, chief forecaster for Rowan County Weather, reported an accumulation of 5.78 inches of rain by about 5 p.m. Sunday, and he stuck with earlier predictions that a total of 9 to 11 inches would be the total rainfall accumulation for Florence once it finally passes through.

Sunday had periods of moderate to heavy rainfall. Monday said the rain would taper off during the day Monday, with some isolated showers possible Tuesday.

Flooding would be the main concern, along with downed trees from the saturated soil, Monday said.

Rowan County is under an official flash flood warning.

A good number of Rowan Countians experienced some power outages during the day Sunday. At 11 a.m., Duke Energy put the number of customers without electricity at 3,347. At 1 p.m., the outages were down to 1,098 customers and by 5:30 p.m., the number stood at 610 outages among Duke customers in Rowan County.

Rowan County’s Emergency Operations Center fielded more than 100 911 storm-related calls over Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s difficult to anticipate the conditions and we’ve done our best to be prepared,” Rowan Emergency Services Director Chris Soliz said Sunday afternoon. “We’re still in the period predicted for the accumulation. Overnight will really tell the true picture.”

Soliz praised the communications and cooperation among all the different communities and responders in Rowan County.

“Overall, the county is doing very well,” he said.

The EOC is working 12-hour shifts during the Florence response.

Sunday was filled with reports of downed trees and power lines across the county. On occasion traffic lights also were out in some municipalities.

A tree fell and damaged the roof of a house on Depot Street in Rockwell. A Bradford pear tree also fell on part of the Faith Diagnostic Clinic on Brown Street in Faith.

Bostian Heights Fire Department dealt with a grass fire that resulted from downed power lines on Rogers Road. The town of Landis’ electric utility had to cope with a blown transformer on Ryder Avenue.

A sizable portion of Rockwell lost power at times Sunday.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.