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Flash Flooding Leads to Chapel Hill Evacuations

Flash flooding led first responders to evacuate residents of two Chapel Hill apartment complexes.
Jess Clark

Flash flooding led firefighters to evacuate residents of two Chapel Hill apartment complexes Wednesday afternoon.

Beverly Eubanks and her young granddaughter were among dozens of people who left their homes on South Estes Drive.

"I was sitting in the house, and I was really looking out because I knew it was raining and I knew it might flood again," Eubanks said. "So I sat down a few minutes, and I looked and it was just water everywhere—that quick."

What is usually a small creek had become a turbulent river. The two forded the swiftly flowing waters on the back of a large truck.

First responders help a resident down from the back of a truck. No injuries were reported.
Credit Jess Clark
First responders help a resident down from the back of a truck. No injuries were reported.

Eubanks' neighbor, Bill Riley, said he was surprised how quickly the waters rose. Riley says the apartment's parking lot flooded to thigh-level in just an hour and a half.

"Now I know the meaning of flash floods," Riley said.

First responders began going door to door at Camelot Village apartments Wednesday morning around 11:30 after waters began to rise. The Chapel Hill Fire Department's Lisa Edwards says most residents agreed to evacuate when firefighters encouraged residents to leave and offered assistance fording the potentially dangerous floodwaters.

"You have rising water, and the water is moving," Edwards said.

The emergency response teams went next door to Brookwood Condominiums later Wednesday afternoon to help residents there. Both complexes have been evacuated before due to flash flooding.

Authorities are helping residents find temporary accommodations. No injuries have been reported.

Jess is WUNC's Fletcher Fellow for Education Policy Reporting. Her reporting focuses on how decisions made at the North Carolina General Assembly affect the state's students, families, teachers and communities.
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