Princeton, N.C. — As much as five inches of rain fell overnight, causing flash flooding in parts of Johnston and Harnett Counties. It flooded several homes and businesses in the town of Princeton in a matter of hours.
Businesses on South Pine Street say these storm drains can not keep up with rain even in smaller storms — let alone the heavy rain they saw Monday night.
But the town’s mayor is hoping these problems are soon a thing of the past.
The concrete is drying out inside Tippy Toes Dance Studio, where tiny dancers typically tap their toes on vinyl flooring that got soaked when three inches of rain rolled in overnight.
Leslie Ingram owns the studio and says conditions inside are suboptimal.
“It’s a lot of water in your building unless you have an indoor pool,” she joked.
It’s the third time in five years — dating back to Hurricane Matthew — that Ingram has had to rip up the wood floors that she elevated with pool noodles, fearing more trouble.
“Just upset,” she said. “I didn’t know if I could to this a third time. It’s very testing.”
The problem, she says, are storm drains out front on South Pine Street.
A few doors down, overflowing water has seeped into Outta the Box Bakery three times in the last four months.
Princeton Mayor Don Rains says they are looking to find a way to avoid this from happening.
“As this community grows, we certainly don’t want to have these problems in the future,” Rains said.
Rains says a $1 million revitalization project will tackle the drainage problems – helping the water flow faster to nearby Beaverdam Creek.
“It’s extremely exhausting to keep hearing it’s going to happen,” Ingram said.
It’s been in the planning phase for more than a year but is expected to break ground next week.
“Things unfortunately don’t move fast when you are dealing with federal and state programs, as well as railroad issues,” Rains said.
As they wait for relief, neighbors are helping neighbors to clean up.
“That’s just what we do in this community, we bond together,” Ingram said.
Outta The Box Bakery says this area does not sit on a flood plain — but they are considering flood insurance because of all of their recent problems.
The mayor says the project to fix the drains should be complete in under a year.