Flood forces Green Valley evacuation
Matthew Hundley / (email@example.com)
“Our initial call came out as water running into a house,” said Dale Laws of GVVFD, explaining that the situation quickly escalated once the firemen responded. “We actually wound up having to shut Three Mile Highway down for about three hours. It was closed from Prison Camp Road down to the 19E intersection. There was just too much water in the road. There were probably places where there were three feet of water standing in the middle of the road.”
Firefighters worked to control water flow while Avery County Sheriff’s office, including Sheriff Kevin Frye, worked to keep the roads clear of traffic. Both departments worked to build dykes near threatened homes and evacuate residents in the trailer park near the intersection of Mullin’s Hill Road and Highway 19E when water came into the park.
“We had to split teams up and send them to three different places,” said Laws. “We wound up evacuating 12 to 15 people out of that trailer park. I know a lot of people today that are wet and trying to dry out, but thank the good Lord that there were not any lives lost. “
Shawn Hartley, whose family owns the trailer park, was working with firemen the next morning in an effort to repair damage done to the property.
“There was some water come up through some of the trailers here where the creek got out of the bank. They had to evacuate some people out last night. Now the creek has gone down and we are just trying to clear out the culverts and get everything cleaned up,” Hartley said.
Also near the trailer park, the rushing water had gutted a bank supporting Highway 19E, washing out the earth around the guardrails. A DOT work crew was on hand the next morning to rebuild the bank and secure the guardrails.
Throughout the valley, floodwaters damaged roads and washed away belongings. Louie Osborne was out early, working to rebuild the road around the bridge he crosses everyday for ingress and egress to his property. The damage to road was extensive.
“We had to fill in all these holes. It washed out around the bridge on each side. We had 17 tons of gravel in here and I put that on it,” Osborne said, who noted that some of his neighbors were still working to make their roads passable again. “We’ve about got ours under control. We were lucky. The good Lord above was with all of us.”
According to Osborne, floods through the bottom of Green Valley have been a common occurrence since he moved to the area.
“This is the third time since I’ve lived here; 10 years this April,” said Osborne. “This is something expected.”
Laws agreed with Osborne’s observation, suggesting that the rate of flooding has increased in his many years on the fire service.
“It is getting worse and worse each year,” said Laws. “Used to, it was very seldom we got calls out for floods. It is starting to flood more and more all the time.”