Orange County homes condemned, flood cleanup continues

tgrubb@newsobserver.comJuly 2, 2013 

  • What you can do

    • Stay alert: Emergency officials warn people not to drive or walk through standing or moving floodwaters. If you see a potentially dangerous situation, email info@townofchapelhill.org or call 919-968-2743.

    • Sheltered pets: Orange County Animal Services officials took in 18 pets after the floods but don’t have owner information for many. To find out if your pet is being held at the animal shelter on Eubanks Road in Chapel Hill, call 919-942-7387.

    • Volunteers and donations are needed. Contact the Red Cross at 919-942-4862 to help. Send monetary donations to the Department of Social Services, 113 Mayo St., Hillsborough, NC 27278. Donated items should be dropped off at the PTA Thrift Store, 89 S. Elliott Road, Chapel Hill, or Orange Congregations in Mission, 300 Millstone Drive, Hillsborough. Both stores will let displaced families shop for free clothes and household items.

— At least 90 apartments were condemned and 51 declared “damaged” Tuesday from weekend flooding that affected more than 150 southern Orange County residents.

Most, if not all, will be repaired eventually, local officials said.

County Emergency Services Director Jim Groves said an emergency shelter at Smith Middle School will stay open through Wednesday. The number of people sleeping on cots at the school fell from 41 Sunday to 30 Monday. The American Red Cross Triangle Area Chapter and other private and public groups are helping residents find temporary housing and meet other immediate needs.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners also declared a state of emergency Tuesday, and Chapel Hill and Carrboro could follow suit. The declaration will help officials apply for state and federal aid for displaced residents.

Damage-assessment teams condemned 68 apartments Tuesday at Camelot Village on Estes Drive and 22 apartments in the Booker Creek neighborhood off Erwin Road, according to a news release. Carrboro officials condemned about two dozen homes Monday at the Rocky Brook Mobile Home Park on South Greensboro Street, Groves said. Flooding also was reported at eight Estes Park Apartments on Estes Drive Extension.

Another 51 condos at Brookwood Condominiums on Estes Drive were declared “damaged” because of water in the crawl space.

Carrboro officials also condemned about two dozen homes Monday at the Rocky Brook Mobile Home Park on South Greensboro Street, Groves said. The town is working with the property and homeowners to decide when residents can safely get their belongings and what repairs will make the trailers habitable again. The town has agreed to waive building permit fees and speed up inspections and permitting, Town Manager David Andrews wrote in an email.

State Emergency Management assistance teams will visit Wednesday, Groves said. The information collected could help residents get financial and housing assistance. It also could help determine how to avoid similar problems in the future, Emergency Management coordinator Darshan Patel said.

Fliers letting people know how to get help will be posted when more information is available, Groves said.

Several Chapel Hill facilities remained closed Tuesday, including Town Hall, Umstead Park, Community Center Park and the town’s greenways. There is no word when those facilities might reopen, officials said.

The town also closed part of Meadowbrook Drive and the intersection at Redbud and Honeysuckle roads for repairs, streets supervisor Greg Ling said.

Both roads will remain closed until town officials can determine the extent of the work, how much it will cost and how to pay for it, he said.

Although northern Orange County, Durham and Raleigh officials also reported some flooding, the brunt of the storm appeared to hit the western Triangle. The National Weather Service reported 7 inches of rain Sunday at the Horace Williams Airport in Chapel Hill. Most of the rain fell in a two-hour period.

Scattered rain since Monday hasn’t caused any more problems, but is expected to continue through the end of the week.

The area remains under a flash flood watch through Wednesday evening.

Grubb: 919-932-8746

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