12 Roads in Watauga Closed, Water River Nearly 13 Feet High at Rominger Road, See More Photos From Flood
By Jesse Wood
May 6, 2013. With so many roadways and bridges flooded, the Boone Police Department, on its Twitter account Monday morning, is advising: “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”
At 8 a.m. this morning, the National Weather Service noted in its Flood Warning, which has been extended until 8 p.m. tonight, that four to six inches of rain has already fallen and an additional one to two inches are possible by Monday evening.
But Ray Russell at Raysweather.com said the “rain will taper off early this afternoon.”
“We are almost into the ‘dry slot’ in the storm system,” Russell said. “It may not be completely dry but it will be relatively dry this afternoon and tonight. Showers will pick up again Tuesday and continue into Wednesday.”
As of 9:30 a.m. Monday, the Watauga River near Sugar Grove had crested close to 13 feet, double the flood-stage level, and is nearing high-water levels of the Jan. 30 flood, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. (See photos below, the rock at the Watauga River Bridge at Rominger Road is completely submerged.)
One difference between the flood in late January and this one is that the high-water levels were reached in the middle of the night, when the majority of drivers weren’t on the road.
Keving Whittington, maintenance engineer for Watauga County with N.C. Department of Transportation, is advising caution and asking for patience from residents.
Crews started working about 5:30 p.m. on Sunday and continued through the night setting up barricades, removing trees from roads and assessing damage.
“It’s kind of hectic. It really is,” Whittington said. [As for damage], it’s kind of hard to tell right now the water is so high. We don’t know the damage underneath all of that. We are continually experiencing trees and small rock slides – nothing major.”
He added that crews made sure debris was out of the major arteries coming into town and are now working on secondary roads. He said no primary roads are closed. However, 12 roads in the county are currently closed:
Watauga River Road
Guy Ford Road
Brookshire Road Bridge
Roby Greene Road
Del Coffey Road
New River Hills/Charlie Hollar Roads
Niley Cook Road
Laurel Creek Road
Dewitt Barnett Road
Photos below by Jesse Wood, Ken Ketchie and Lonnie Webster