Rowan County congressmen visit Emergency Operations Center, Landis

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 19, 2018

By Andie Foley

As bright skies and warm temperatures evaporated lingering puddles on Tuesday, Rowan County’s two congressmen took time to learn how locals fared during the weekend storm.

Reps. Richard Hudson, R-8, and Ted Budd, R-13, were briefed on county impacts by Chief of Emergency Services Chris Soliz.

Across the county, 264 storm-related phone calls have been recorded since the weather began late Friday. Most of these have addressed down power lines, trees and similar hazards.

Some 147 field reports have been collected by what Soliz called “field liaisons,” identifying areas with high flooding and other storm-related issues.

“We had all these different departments here,” said Soliz as he showed the two men Rowan’s Emergency Operations Center, established to prepare for and respond to Hurricane Florence as it approached. “… In this situation, everybody dropped titles and we were all one team.”

And this attitude was felt across the county. County commissioner Chairman Greg Edds spoke of municipalities during the storm, crediting town manager Reed Linn for his effort in checking the Lake Landis and Lake Corriher levee.

A partial breach of the levee was reported late Sunday. When Linn noticed some concerning pooling patterns in the water, he went as far as to enter the water to check for damage himself, Edds said.

Budd and Hudson traveled from the Emergency Operations Center in Salisbury to Landis to speak with Linn and observe the levee.

“We were a page away from going … to an evacuation,” Linn said. “I had a conversation with our assistant town manager at the EOC. … If he had reported it looked like the rain was going to continue another three or four hours or we were going to get another two to three inches of rain, we were going to push the button and evacuate.”

Accordingly, he said the town was prepared with communications systems, buses and temporary shelter in case an evacuation was necessary.

The plan would have required an evacuation 200 yards to either side of Grants Creek, all the way down to Shue Road, said Linn.

Hudson said he was very impressed with Landis’ and the county’s efforts during the storm.

Everyone had worked together and was prepared for even the worst of scenarios, he said.

“These kind of events kind of help remind us civilians how much you all do every day,” he said, addressing staff members at the Emergency Operations Center. “In particular, when we’ve got these kinds of crises, you’ve got to to pull together and work those longer hours. We appreciate you.”

Budd also extended his thanks.

“I’m grateful for each and every one of you. We didn’t know in the last several days how bad this was going to be,” he said. “… It could have been absolutely catastrophic. I’m glad it’s a little easier than we were thinking a few days ago.”

Linn said two siphons had been set up on the lower lake to drain it to a safe level and take pressure off the levee. The lake is currently 14 inches below full pond.

The Yadkin River at Yadkin College was at 12.5. feet as of Tuesday morning, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The flood stage is 15 feet.

Tuckertown is nearing minor flood stage. High Rock Lake was at 654.7 feet on Tuesday morning. A minor flood stage for the lake is 655 feet. 

Cube Hydro Carolinas says High Rock, Tuckertown and Badin are expected to rise. Falls Lake is expected to remain at a constant level.