Area braces for storm's impacts


Staff Writer

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Twin Counties is bracing for another round of heavy rain as the remnants of Hurricane Michael are expected to arrive today, prompting the early or complete closure of most area schools.

The National Weather Service reported that the main impacts to the Twin Counties will be the potential for flooding as the area is expected to receive two to three inches of rain from the system, with higher amounts possible in some areas. Both Nash and Edgecombe counties are under tropical storm warnings until further notice and sustained winds are likely to be 20-30 mph with gusts of 30-40 mph. Tornadoes are also possible.

“Michael will be faster-moving than Florence, so while we are expecting flooding with the current storm, it should be less widespread than we experienced with Florence,” a statement from the National Weather Service said.

Both counties also are under flash flood watches until at least 5 a.m. on Friday. Flash flooding is the main concern today and river flooding is possible on Friday and Saturday. Motorists are warned to avoid driving through flooded roadways

In anticipation of the potential for river flooding, the city of Rocky Mount announced Wednesday that dam gates at the Tar River Reservoir have been lowered.

The lowering is expected to cause the reservoir level to drop to 122 feet by late Wednesday evening, which is three feet below full pool, or the water level of the reservoir at normal operating conditions, according to a statement from the city. 

The reduction of the water level in the reservoir is expected to help minimize the potential impact of any increased flows along the Tar River due to heavy rainfall, city officials said.

According to a press release, the river level at the Atlantic Avenue Station was more than 10 feet below flood stage as of Wednesday. According to information released by Brent Fisher, assistant director of Nash County Fire, Rescue & Emergency Management, the Tar River at N.C. 97 in Rocky Mount is expected to crest Friday through Saturday at 23.5 feet, which is moderate flood stage.

River levels can be monitored at www.rockymountnc.gov. 

In response to the expected heavy rainfalls, most area schools are either closing completely or closing early today.

Edgecombe County Public Schools and North East Carolina Prep School will be closed today and will operate on a three-hour delay Friday.

Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools will operate on a three-hour early release today for students and staff. No changes have yet been announced to the Friday schedule.

Edgecombe Community College plans to close at 1 p.m. today while Nash Community College will be closed all day. Both are expected to operate on normal schedules on Friday unless otherwise announced.

New Life Christian Academy and Rocky Mount Prep School will also close at 1 p.m. today, and all afternoon activities have been cancelled.

The meet and greet with U.S. Rep. George Holding, R-2nd District, scheduled for Thursday also has been postponed due to the expected inclement weather. Holding, who is being challenged by Democrat Linda Coleman in the November election, was scheduled to appear at the Nash County Republican Party’s campaign headquarters on Sunset Avenue. Party officials said a rescheduled date will be announced.