Grifton is out of the water...for now
With all eyes on local rivers and potential flooding, one small town comes to the forefront of most people’s minds: Grifton. This tiny hamlet often struggles with major storms throughout the year but the memories of Hurricane Matthew remain fresh in everyone’s minds.
As Kinston braces for flood waters from the Neuse River, the residents of Grifton are likewise worried about the Neuse but additionally Contentnea Creek - the body of water that flows through their town.
Contentnea Creek flows into the Neuse River in Kinston. If current Neuse flood levels reach the same heights as they did during Matthew, the waters of Contentnea Creek have nowhere to flow, thus resulting in flooding for Grifton.
“All that water has to go somewhere,” Irvin Harper, the chief of Grifton EMS, said. “Right now, we are good road-wise. It’s the power that people are most concerned with. Many people have been out of power for two or three days now.”
The substation that serves the town, located at Harvey Rouse Road, was underwater for most of the last few days. This morning, the waters receded. Workers have to let the station dry before they can safely activate it.
As for Contentnea Creek, it currently sits about three feet below the Rt 11 Bridge and the John E. Cameron Bridge. For a town that has received over a foot of rain over the last few days, that's good news.
“We had some flash flooding on Friday that swept through town. "Some places were about three feet deep,” Harper said. “That water had nowhere to go in town, but thankfully the creek was below flood level so it could drain out."
The concern with Contentnea Creek isn’t it's current state, but rather what it'll be able to hold in the coming days. As the waters from Wilson, Rocky Mount, and Snow Hill come rolling down the creek, along with flood waters from the Neuse River, officials are urging Grifton residents to be prepared.
"Right now, we’re doing good," Harper said. "If the Highland Street Bridge is out and Rt 11 is open, we are fine. It’s when both bridges are out that we have a problem. Everyone needs to be prepared for what could happen. They have to be careful and keep a clear head. A lot of people are going to become impatient and that’s when the problems start.
“If it is going to flood and be bad, people need to get out and follow what the authorities direct them to do. If not, then be prepared to stay home for a few days. You need to be prepared for a least a week just in case it gets really bad."
In the meantime, volunteers from the Salvation Army and Red Cross have been serving food to Grifton residents in need.