Hurricane Matthew set eastern Wake County back on its heels over the weekend, with steady winds and heavy rainfall throughout the day Saturday and into Saturday night.
Residents began losing power early Saturday afternoon as power lines came down and trees fell across roadways.
In Knightdale, police closed off a section of Knightdale Boulevard for a time on Saturday night and in Zebulon, several roads were closed at various times, including East Gannon Avenue, Barbee Street Extension and Church Street.
On Sunday morning Zebulon police and Wake County Sheriff’s deputies blocked traffic on N.C. 97 at Little River Park where heavy rains had swollen the river and water was rushing over the barriers on the side of the bridge. Water covered the roadway at the bridge – the spillover was nearly level with the dam – and one vehicle was partially submerged off the side of the of the road.
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Joseph and Flora Gilliam, who have lived just up the hill from the park for 40 years, said the only other time they recalled water levels so high was in 1999, after Hurricane Floyd.
“We’d be out cleaning the yard and see everyone doing the same thing, coming down to the park to see it,” Flora Gilliam said. “It’s a spectacle.”
U.S. Geological Survey workers measured that the river was moving 10 feet per second from the bridge at Green Pace Road.
The result was visible a few miles to the south, where the Little River had overtaken sections of Morphus Bridge Road. From that area to the south, toward Archer Lodge, fallen trees were a common sight.
In Knightdale, downed trees and power lines closed all lanes of Knightdale Boulevard from McKnight Drive to Parkside Commons Drive from early afternoon Saturday until 3 a.m. Sunday.
Power remained out along much of Knightdale Boulevard on Sunday afternoon, so police were directing traffic at several intersections along the main thoroughfare.
A Wake County sheriff’s deputy suffered non-life-threatening injuries when his car hit a downed tree at Knightdale Boulevard and McKnight Drive at about 12:30 a.m. after driving through barricades at the intersection, according to a town report.
Police Chief Lawrence Capps said the deputy thought he could get around the downed tree safely but could not.
Power was still out in numerous Knightdale neighborhoods and shopping centers Sunday afternoon, according to the report, including Parkside Commons, Cheswick, the Old Town district, Greystone Apartments, Legacy Oaks Apartments, Maplewood, Shoppes at Midway and Edinburgh’s Keep.
Though the damage wasn’t as severe in eastern Wake County as it was in other areas, including nearby Johnston County, many people woke up Sunday morning to find their power was still out.
In eastern Wake County, thousands were without power as of Sunday afternoon, though, many businesses and residents north of Gannon Avenue in Zebulon had already seen their power restored.
Duke Energy, as of Sunday afternoon, was uncertain how long it would take before power was restored. Company officials said they wouldn’t send work crews out until they were sure it was safe for them to work.
In Wendell, road closures were the name of the game throughout Saturday night. Roads were closed at various times throughout the night on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Robertson Pond Road was closed due to water across the roadway after the dam burst.
Edgemont Road was also closed near Edgemont Landing. Flooding there washed away the much of the dirt in ditches beside the road, exposing underground utilities, according to Wendell firefighter John Boyette. More water there later washed out the road.
The same happened to southbound lane of N.C. 39 in front of the dam at Bunn Lake.
Other roads that were closed at points during the night due to downed trees and power lines included Wendell Boulevard at Magnolia Street, Lakewood Street and Haywood at Cypress Street.
Staff writers Aaron Moody and Matt Goad contributed to this report.