Flash floods hit NC, WY

BY SUSAN KIM | WILSON, NC | August 27, 2002

"Parts of Wilson were evacuated. People are still finding out the damage this morning."

—Carolyn Tyler

Two North Carolina counties and a small town in Wyoming were hit with flash flooding Monday and Tuesday following torrential rain storms.

In NC, eight inches of rain pelted the area, damaging homes and roadways. "Parts of Wilson were evacuated," said Carolyn Tyler of North Carolina Interfaith Disaster Response Tuesday.

In Wilson County at least 10 homes were damaged, according to the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management. In Vance County, the Nut Bush Creek Waste Treatment Plant was partially submerged due to flooding, but the plant maintained partial operations.

There was widespread road and vehicle damage as well, and many residents were not able to get to their neighborhoods until Tuesday morning. Parts of Wilson were evacuated Monday night, and emergency crews rescued stranded people.

Damage was worse than it might have been because North Carolina has seen drought conditions this summer. The hard, parched ground wouldn't readily soak up water, and the runoff flooded creeks and canals.

More rain was expected Tuesday through Thursday this week. "It looks like it's going to start anytime," said Hazel Sorrell, executive director of the Wilson Interfaith recovery committee.

The group -- created in the wake of 1999's Hurricane Floyd -- was ready to respond to people's needs. It is changing its name to Interfaith Housing and Disaster Recovery to reflect a new disaster preparedness component of its work.

"We needed the rain so badly but this was much too fast," said Tyler.

Sorrell added, "We didn't want it all at one time. It came so fast and couldn't get through the dry grass. It ran off instead of soaking in."

A small town in Wyoming -- Kaycee -- also bore the brunt of flash flooding Tuesday when a three-foot wall of floodwater swept through Main Street. The town, home to 249 residents, was still assessing damages Tuesday night. Up to seven inches of rain fell Monday night.

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