Emergency officials Monday morning were expressing relief that the Yadkin Valley area didn’t get near the heavy weather originally forecast as the remnants of what was Hurricane Florence passed through the region.
The Yadkin River and Big Elkin Creek in the Elkin and Jonesville area had flooded over their banks, but officials from Surry and Yadkin counties reported that the Yadkin is expected to crest at 23.1 feet, rather than the initial 26.6 feet forecast, at about 2 p.m. Monday.
Due to several Yadkin County roads remaining impassable Monday morning, Yadkin County Schools opted to close for the day, while Wilkes, Surry and Elkin City school systems reported on a two-hour delay to allow any water to recede and trees across roadways to be cleared.
“We’re still running a lot of trees down, and have throughout this whole thing,” said John Shelton, director of Surry County Emergency Services. “With the ground saturated and some winds at 20 mph, they’re just going to fall. Luckily, we’ve not had that many power outages, they’ve just fell across the roadway.”
As far as water rising, Shelton said Surry County had mainly seen roadways with some surface flooding, but no major hazards had been reported. “The Yadkin River was considered a hot spot for flooding, and Big Elkin Creek and Crater Park are experiencing flooding,” Shelton said.
One of the big concerns is the businesses and homes in the flood plain area in Jonesville, especially Sunday night as forecasts were still calling for heavier rain through the night than what actually came down. Jonesville residents in low-lying areas were put on alert Sunday night, in case a need for evacuations occurred.
In Yadkin County, as of Monday morning, Dinkins Bottom Road, Butner Mill Road, South Jonesville Boulevard, Richmond Hill Road at the Rockford bridge and Aquila Creek Road remain closed to traffic due to flooding on the roads.
Keith Vestal, director of Yadkin Emergency Services, said National Guard teams were on standby with high-ground clearance vehicles.
“They will be used to evacuate anyone that may be trapped with flood waters if it comes on up as predicted and then we will make the determination to open shelters. None are open at this point,” Vestal said, just before 9 a.m. on Monday.
Those living near the Yadkin River or other feeder streams have been asked to keep vigilant watch throughout the morning and afternoon.
Shelton said Surry County had seen several automobile accidents, and emergency crews ended up not being needed at a call for a water rescue Monday morning in Rockford where a vehicle had stalled in water.
“Honestly, we’ve been in what’s called the purple and red category throughout this, and for what they told us we were going to get — 15 inches of rain — we’ve done really well. We didn’t get anywhere near what was sited for us,” Shelton said.
“We’ve been busy, helping keep roads clear, but we were very fortunate,” he said.
Surry County remains on standby as a crest shelter in case shelters in the eastern part of the state overflow, and the county’s morgue trailer is on standby to move deceased as needed in the eastern part of the state as well.
Five Surry County emergency employees, one of which was a telecommunicator, traveled to the eastern part of the state last week. The telecommunicator took Surry’s radio trailer down as well for departments to use. The other four employees worked as staging managers for the Butner staging area. Two of them came back Sunday, and the other two and the telecommunicator are expected back in Surry Thursday.
For those in Yadkin County, a storm information hotline was established and can be reached by calling 336-849-7713 or visiting the county website, www.yadkincountync.gov.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035. Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-518-3049.