UPDATE: As of 1:30 p.m., many of the side streets between Canal Drive and Carolina Beach Avenue North on the north end of Carolina Beach have been closed off, according to the town’s assistant manager Ed Parvin.
“We’re really encouraging local resident access only on Canal Drive, and people can use Carolina Beach Avenue North if they need to go that way,” said Parvin. “Unless we see worse conditions, we expect it to be passable.”
Parvin said Freeman Park, also on the town’s north end, could be closed down completely. It is currently open until Zone 10. The town’s department heads will be meeting at 4 p.m. Friday to re-evaluate conditions and make further decisions about closures.
Carolina Beach Lake, which overflowed last fall when Hurricane Joaquin brought heavy rain to the area, is continuing to be pumped down. According to Parvin, the town just installed a 16-inch force stormwater main, which can pump an inch and a half of water per hour out of the lake. Previously, only a quarter of an inch of water could be pumped out each hour.
“It’s really making a big difference,” Parvin said. “We don’t have the same issues that we did in October with Joaquin.”
As of 10:37 a.m., the National Weather Service in Wilmington has placed New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties under a flood advisory until 10:30 p.m. Friday.
According to NWS Wilmington meteorologist Tim Armstrong, the Wilmington International Airport had recorded two inches of rain by 11:15 a.m.
“However, down in the southern parts of the county, such as Carolina and Kure Beaches, they’ve already received about four inches,” Armstrong said.
In Carolina Beach, which got hit hard last October during Hurricane Joaquin, closures have already begun on the north end of town. Portions of low-lying Canal Drive, which often floods during high tides, have been barricaded, according to town hall, and more closures can be expected as the day goes on. There is no access to Freeman Park past Zone 10, and more areas could be shut down as well.
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Snow’s Cut Bridge remains open and will only be closed if sustained winds of 45 miles per hour or more occur.
The area is expected to get an average of five to eight inches of rain during this storm, but more is possible in isolated areas. Wind gusts of up to 55 miles per hour are also possible. The storm’s biggest impact is expected late Friday and into early Saturday morning. According to NWS Wilmington Forecaster Dave Loewenthal, the center of the storm is expected to come through Brunswick and New Hanover counties between midnight and 1 a.m. Saturday morning.
As more rain continues to fall throughout the day, motorists are cautioned to avoid flooded areas as it is difficult to see how deep the water is. The greatest risk for flooding and flash flooding is at night, when visibility is lower. Officials are asking citizens to remember the saying, “Turn around, don’t drown.”