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Picking Up the Pieces and Assessing the Damage Following Devastating Flood in Boone Last Wednesday

By Paul T. Choate

Cleanup efforts began at Bob's Hair Cutters and other businesses along Boone Docks Drive last Thursday and continue still. Photo by Ken Ketchie
Cleanup efforts began at Bob’s Hair Cutters and other businesses along Boone Docks Drive last Thursday and continue still. Photo by Ken Ketchie

Feb. 8, 2013. Many around Boone are picking up the pieces and trying to recover from the devastating flood last Wednesday that caused major damage to several area residences, businesses and vehicles.

According to Bill Bailey, Boone Planning and Inspections director, 23 apartments in Bavarian Village on Meadowview Drive and two mobile homes in the Bradford Trailer Park were recently condemned due to damage.

In regards to Bavarian Village, Bailey said he has received a monetary estimate from the property managers of $46,000 in damage, but said he is asking them to double check their figures.

“I think that’s a little low based on what we saw,” he said.

Some of the apartments were worse than others, with the 700 building taking the worst of the flooding. Bailey said much of the carpet, sheetrock walls and even some of the electrical outlets and appliances got waterlogged.

“The carpets being wet creates a very unhealthy environment,” he said, adding that mold growth was of great concern.

Based on the Planning and Inspections Department assessments, some of the flooded apartments had 50 percent or higher moisture levels as high up as six inches in the sheetrock walls.

“They’re probably going to have to pull out a foot of sheetrock in all those units,” Bailey said. “Some cabinets and appliances will likely have to be replaced too.”

Bailey said it is “kind of up to the management” how fast they will be able to get the repairs done. He estimated that the apartments with only minimal water damage would probably be fixed in a week or two at most and that fully repairing all the units could take around a month or so.

Many local businesses took a big hit too. While some escaped unscathed or mostly unscathed, many business owners and staff returned to their stores last Thursday to find an absolute mess. 

Drew Golden (in black), of Mountaineer Barber and Styling, surveys the damage last Thursday morning. Photo by Ken Ketchie
Drew Golden (in black), of Mountaineer Barber and Styling, surveys the damage last Thursday morning. Photo by Ken Ketchie

“It’s pretty rough in there,” said Drew Golden, of Mountaineer Barber and Styling on Boone Docks Road, last Thursday. “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 would look toward recovering as soon as possible, though he added he was unsure how long that might take. He described the scene the day after the flood, saying that the back door to the barbershop had been busted open due to the force of the floodwaters 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 began last Thursday at places such as The Carpet House of Boone and Bob’s Hair Cutters. Large dumpsters can be seen along Boone Docks Road as businesses try to remove all the damaged items.

Bailey said the Boone AT&T branch also suffered damage and has been forced to set up a temporary facility while they repair.

The Super 8 motel’s lobby and breakfast bar also had some water damage.

The Car Company of Boone, located along N.C. 105 near Ingles, suffered losses to some cars. Bailey said he saw at least three cars that were submerged when he went by the business.

As usual, the Boone Mall parking lot flooded.

The Jan. 30 flood was one of the worst in recent history in Boone. Photo by Ken Ketchie
The Jan. 30 flood was one of the worst in recent history in Boone. Photo by Ken Ketchie

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 floodwaters 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 it always does in heavy rains.

As for the ball fields up around the Watauga County Parks and Recreation Office off State Farm Road, “The ball fields over there flooded but they always do; they’re kind of designed to flood,” Bailey said.

According to Stephen Poulos, Watauga Parks and Recreation director, this is the eighth or ninth time in the past 20 to 30 years that the ball fields have flooded. They are still assessing the damage and do not have a timeline yet for a full-scale cleanup. Poulos said a lot depends on when the weather breaks – in other words, if it will ever stop raining or snowing for a few days straight – in terms of when Parks and Rec can start cleaning up.

“Until you really start getting out there with your equipment you can’t assess things,” Poulos said. “We’re probably going to have to talk to the [county] commissioners to get a little help. This will probably go over our budget in terms of field repairs.”

Poulos said the hope is to get the fields repaired by mid-March to mid-April – when the fields typically start being used.

The Greenway also sustained some damage from the flooding, Bailey said. He said there was a significant amount of debris that needed to be cleaned up.

“They’re getting ready to go in there with our crews and a contractor,” he said.

In terms of area roads, Watauga and Avery counties sustained some damage from the heavy rainfall but nowhere near the amount in Ashe County. 

According to NCDOT Division 11 Engineer Michael Pettyjohn, Watauga County roads sustained an estimated $425,000 in damage, based on the most recent assessments. Avery County roads took a $125,000 hit. In Ashe County, the roads were damaged to the tune of a whopping $3.8 million. 

“And we’re still in the process of compiling estimates even today,” Pettyjohn said. 

As cleanup and reparation efforts continue, stick with High Country Press for more updates on the aftermath of the Jan. 30 flood. 

Photos from last week’s flood
Photos by Ken Ketchie