Not again: After days of rain, Chatham County neighborhood prepares for more flooding

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— A neighborhood in Chatham County that is prone to flooding should make preparations now after days of rain, according to county officials.

Residents of Jeremiah Drive, located south of Chapel Hill near the Williams community and Jordan Lake, received a statement from Chatham County Emergency Management Sunday morning.

“The county has been notified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that, due to ongoing rain, Jordan Lake levels are expected to exceed 227.5 feet in the next several hours today,” the statement read.

“With current inflows, it may reach 232 feet or more within the next few days and will prevent most vehicle access to your neighborhood.”

The statement asked about 20 residents to prepare for the possibility of not being able to leave their neighborhood for several days.

According to the county, engineers will work to reduce lake levels as soon as conditions allow. Officials were not sure when the road out of the neighborhood would be clear again but estimate the road will be flooded for several days.

Flooding will begin sometime Sunday afternoon, officials predicted.

This week would not be the first time the neighborhood has flooded. In December 2018, Jeremiah Drive was flooded for 10 days, and residents used boats to gain access in and out of the neighborhood.

“Anywhere we need to go, this is how we have to transport ourselves,” resident Valerie Morrow told WRAL News in December as she paddled a boat across the flooded road. “”My family couldn’t even have Christmas dinner at our home.”

In 2015, a local fire department offered boat rides for people who didn’t want to risk driving through the water. The following year, some people couldn’t get to work, while others had to stay in a hotel because they had no access to their homes.

Steve Newton, Chatham County’s emergency management director, said he has discussed the problem with the state Department of Transportation, which maintains Jeremiah Drive. “They understand what the problem is. They’re looking at potential solutions,” he said.