First Posted: 1/15/2009
PEMBROKE - Marilyn Cooper was able to leave her Melinda Road home for the first time in several days on Thursday - that's when her flooded yard finally dried out after Sunday's heavy rains.
Cooper was one of many residents in the Prospect community near N.C. 710 affected by unusually high flooding this week.
“The water has never come up this far before,” Cooper said. “It was worse than it's ever been. We didn't get out for two days. One of the cars almost flooded and my car couldn't get out. I was scared it would flood out.”
A rain gauge in her yard showed 6 inches of rain fell during the weekend deluge.
A few houses away, Arlis Emanuel's blue log cabin was in one of the areas hardest hit by the flooding. Emanuel and his wife moved into the house just about a month ago, and needed a boat on Monday just to get to the doorstep of their new home. And even though the water had receded enough by Thursday that they no longer needed a boat, most of the yard was still underwater.
“I feel frustrated,” Emanuel said. “I just feel powerless. There's nothing I can do except wait.”
He said the water originally came up to his knees, covering two or three porch steps on both sides of the house. Thursday found him assessing the damage done to his muddy property and sprinkling bright yellow sulfur to keep away snakes.
“I'm afraid that's what's going to come next,” Emanuel said.
Cooper said the high water has brought a steady stream of gawkers to the area. Stuck inside, she has little to do but watch the people who have come to watch her.
“If I had a dollar for every car that's come down the road …, ” she said. “It's embarrassing to see your place underwater like this and there's nothing anybody can do until it's gone.”
Marion Jacobs, who lives on N.C. 710 near Melinda Road, saw the water rise to the third step on her trailer. She stayed away for a few days, too, though her son stayed at the home.
“We've been getting around in boots,” Jacobs said. “If my trailer had been a low trailer, we would have lost everything. It's ridiculous. The state could do something about that if they would get out there and clean the ditches out.”
Even after the water has drained away, it's questionable if anyone will be able to prevent the flooding from reoccurring. Officials with the N.C. Department of Transportation believe that the source of the drainage problem is on private land, which is out of the state's control. Its source has not been identified publicly.
Emanuel said residents need some kind of help, either with money or an emergency team.
“The man over at transportation said there wasn't anything he could do,” Cooper said. “But I feel like it's more than that. All the ditches need cleaning out. Not just the ones in this area, either, but all over. I just hope it can be resolved in a peaceful way without anyone getting angry with each other.”
Area residents were meeting at Island Grove Baptist Church this morning to discuss the problem. The county Board of Commissioners is also expected to discuss the situation at its meeting on Monday.