August 16, 2006
Charlotte, NC - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services and the Charlotte Fire Department say the flood notification system for emergency responders worked flawlessly during last night's heavy rain. The Flood Information & Notification System (FINS) automatically notifies emergency crews to the threat of flooding at ten locations with a history of repeated or dangerous flooding.
At 8:41 p.m., fire crews responded to a FINS alert along Briar Creek, prompting a voluntary evacuation of the Doral and Cavalier Apartments near Monroe Road. Fire Capt. Rob Brisley said the FINS alert allowed emergency crews to be proactive in alerting residents about the likelihood of flooding. As sections of the apartment complex's parking lots began to flood, many residents moved their cars. Some residents chose to leave their apartments until water started to recede around 1 a.m.
Overall, emergency crews received more than two dozen separate FINS alerts last night in various parts of the City. U.S. Geological Survey rain gauges indicate the heaviest rain was in eastern and southern Charlotte, with 6-inches of rain at Collinswood Elementary School near Woodlawn Road and I-77. Freedom Park and Hidden Valley received 4.5-inches of rain. Rainfall amounts of 3.5-inches in 90-minutes were common in the center city, Derita, and Chantilly.
Stream flow gauges indicate that Briar and Little Sugar Creeks and some tributaries overflowed their banks for up to several hours during the night.
Charlotte Fire Captain Rob Brisley said crews rescued about a dozen people from cars who had attempted to drive on flooded streets in various parts of the city. Flooding was also reported in several homes on Dolphin Avenue and at a day care on Eastway Drive, both near Methodist Home Park. Floodwater from Little Sugar Creek was reported in some businesses along Cullman Avenue near North Tryon and 36th Streets.
Cullman Avenue is currently the target of a Storm Water Services' voluntary floodplain buyout program, using local and federal dollars to encourage owners of flood-prone buildings to sell the property and get out of harm's way. In the past five years, more than 140-flood-prone properties have been purchased by Storm Water Services in various parts of the community including Hidden Valley, Myers Park Manor, Westfield, Belmont and Cullman Avenue. The floodplain is then converted to open space. Dave Canaan of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services says getting high-risk homes and businesses permanently out of the floodplain allows emergency crews to concentrate their efforts on rescuing stranded motorists or protecting lives and property from flooding at other locations.
Today, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services staff is reviewing stream and rain gauge data, inspecting sites where flooding was reported, and analyzing the data and information.