Carolina Beach calls off state of emergency

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Carolina Beach Lake overflowed Monday morning due to high tides and heavy rain that fell overnight, causing Lake Park Boulevard to be closed down. Photo by Hannah Leyva
Carolina Beach Lake overflowed  due to high tides and heavy rain, causing Lake Park Boulevard to be closed down. Photo by Hannah Leyva

Carolina Beach officials decided to end their state of emergency on Tuesday evening, a week and a half after first declaring one in anticipation of a brush with Hurricane Joaquin.

According to Asst. Town Manager Ed Parvin, who was in charge of emergency management during the rain event, the town accrued $250,000 worth of damage to both private and public property since entering a state of emergency on Oct. 2. While a breakdown of the damage is not yet available, Parvin said he and other staff members would meet Wednesday for a “hot wash” meeting to go over what was done and what could be improved in the future.

The main problem the town faced was flooding from all the rain the area has received in the last 20 days. According to Town Manager Michael Cramer, Carolina Beach has received 23.03 inches of rain since Sept. 24. The majority of that rain fell between Oct. 1 – 5, when Hurricane Joaquin made its way past the east coast of the country. During that time, 13.45 inches of rain fell in Carolina Beach, causing streets to flood and Carolina Beach Lake, which has been pumped down since late September, to overflow.

“We saw a lot of water in places where we’ve never seen water before,” said Parvin.

The area around the lake in particular, including Lake Park Boulevard, one of the main roads between Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, took a few days to clear up. According to Cramer, the town had eight pumps working from Sept. 24 to Oct. 5 that pumped out over 261 million gallons of water from the lake. On Oct. 10, when nearly five inches of rain fell in less than three hours, six of the town’s pumps pushed nearly 60 million gallons of water out of the lake. According to officials, one of the issues that will be looked at in the future is redesigning or rerouting the pumps and stormwater lines to mitigate some of the flooding and street closures.

Despite the severity of the storm’s impact on the town, the mayor and councilmembers were thankful for the town’s staff, emergency responders and utilities workers for their round-the-clock work before, during and after the storms.

“I want to thank our staff, in very difficult circumstances, for being very proactive,” said Mayor Dan Wilcox.

New Hanover County remains under a state of emergency as it continues to deal with aftermath from the storm.