Flood waters recede as region cleans up
by Kellen Short
Watauga County residents are rebounding from the continuous storms that dumped more than 12 inches of rain in some areas during the last week even as more storm threats loom.
In and around Boone, at least three sinkholes opened over the July 4 weekend, and one home suffered a wall collapse that threatened the integrity of the structure.
Pavement collapsed in two areas of the former Frogurt yogurt shop parking lot on Blowing Rock Road, an area where water often flows over the lot en route to a storm drain. A second, larger hole opened near a drain in the Holmes View apartment complex next door.
Another hole opened at the edge of the parking lot of Ross Chrysler Jeep Dodge on N.C. 105 in Boone, swallowing a stretch of concrete curb.
The Boone Fire Department also was called to a home on Fox Hill Road around 9 p.m. Sunday after a load-bearing basement wall collapsed, said Capt. Mike Teague.
Teague said all the occupants of the home were out of the house when the fire department arrived. Firefighters cut off propane and electricity to the house to ensure no further damage occurred, and the Watauga County Planning and Inspections Department has sent an inspector to examine the structure.
While the rain's effect on property was notable, the effect on life and health was minor.
Teague said the Boone Fire Department responded around 4:30 p.m. Sunday to assist an elderly woman and her daughter who needed help leaving a Farthing Street residence.
But the department did not conduct any water rescues and found that most people heeded road closures and warnings.
"Even though we've had a lot of rain, we've had some breaks in between, and that's been a saving grace for us," Teague said.
While flooding incidents have become nearly commonplace this year, the rainfall totals charted in Watauga County during July are far from common.
According to National Weather Service data, a whopping 12.01 inches of rain fell between 7 a.m. July 1 and 7 a.m. July 7 at a gauge about one mile southeast of Boone. Another site in Boone charted 10.53 inches, while the Triplett community measured 9.3 inches during that same period.
Meteorologist Ken Kostura said the National Weather Service did not keep official records on Boone but that climate sites at Blacksburg, Va., and Roanoke, Va., had the wettest Julys on record, going back to 1912.
The rain may not be finished. The National Weather Service is forecasting showers and thunderstorms Wednesday and Thursday. Some of the storms may produce heavy rain.
Kostura said Monday that a cold front approaching from the west also could add winds or hail to the storms Wednesday and Thursday.
"Any storm could cause flooding now because of the saturated ground," he said.