By Paul T. Choate
Jan. 31, 2013. Details are continuing to surface on just how bad the Wednesday night flood in Boone really was. While some escaped unscathed or mostly unscathed, many business owners and staff returned to their stores this morning to find an absolute mess.
“It’s pretty rough in there,” said Drew Golden, of Mountaineer Barber and Styling on Boone Docks Road. “It happened so fast it’s not even funny. … It totaled my car, my girlfriends’ car and my boss’ car. It happened so fast we couldn’t even get our cars out of there. We had to just leave.”
Golden said the shop will look toward recovering as soon as possible, though he added he was unsure how long that might take. He described the scene this morning, saying that the back door to the barber shop had been busted open due to the force of the flood waters and debris was holding the front door ajar. He said when the door was opened stuff just started to float out.
Mountaineer Barber and Styling and other businesses along Boone Docks Drive, located off Meadowview Drive near the Boone Mall, were some of the most severely affected by the flooding. Cleanup efforts are also in progress today at places such as The Carpet House of Boone and Bob’s Hair Cutters.
Boone Mall was probably the most publicized example of the flood’s effects, though water never made it quite into the mall. According to Meredith Golden, mall manager, the flood waters made it to about four parking spaces before the entrance to the mall when the northeast side of the parking lot became Boone Mall Lake, as usual.
“I’ve worked in the mall for 12 years and it’s the worst I’ve ever seen, definitely,” she said.
Residents and businesses alike near the mall got a scare last night when the smell of propane began to fill the air. The rushing flood waters made their way to Suburban Propane, located on Meadowview Drive, and resulted in leaks from broken valves on two tanks. Additionally, many of the large propane tanks were loose and floating around in the pooling water.
Meredith Golden, in addition to working at the mall, lives in area. She said apartments in the immediate vicinity of Suburban Propane had to be evacuated due to the increasingly severe propane leaks.
“I always wondered why a neighborhood was built around propane tanks,” she said.
By 9:43 p.m. last night the propane leaks had been controlled, according to a statement by Sergeant Shane Robbins of the Boone Police Department.
Some businesses outside the vicinity of the worst of the flooding were able to narrowly escape severe damage. Boone Rent-All and Parties Too, located near the intersection of N.C. 105 and N.C. 105 Bypass, had some flooding in the store but no damage was caused.
“It was nothing that hadn’t happened in the past,” said Mike Willis, Boone Rent-All manager. “We’ve had this happen 10 times since I’ve been here. It was maybe just a little bit worse.”
Willis said they had already put many of the store’s items away in preparation for flooding and said the only issue was having a little water in the floor.
For those who were hit the hardest though, such as those businesses like Mountaineer Barber and Styling, a full recovery may not be a quick process. Asked what the plan was for the immediate future, Golden replied, “I guess just [finding out], ‘Where to start?'”