High tide to blame in downtown Beaufort deluge

High tide to blame in down town Beaufort deluge

BEAUFORT, CARTERET COUNTY - The flooding that took over the town of Beaufort Monday was some of the highest seen in almost 20 years. City managers say a big part of the problem was the tide.

(Note: Photo Credit of woman wading down Front Street: Carteret County News -Times)

Almost 5.00" of rain fell in just under two hours, according to city staff. All the storm drains in the city filter rain into Taylor's Creek. Monday's rain fell during high tide. This meant the deluge of water had nowhere to go.

Assistant Town Manager, Lauren Hermely says the flooding was rare, usually the drainage system works well.

"It does work but as we saw yesterday, a near 100-year-flood-event, no system that we could put in here would be able to drain the water as fast as we would want it to leave." says Hermley.

Hermley says there is one exception to the rule, the 700 block of Broad Street. This location frequently floods. When Monday's rain hit residents were especially submerged with waters reaching as high as their waist in some places.

Still, others treated the flash flood like a snow day, making the most of the rare event. A few people were seen kayaking down Front Street. Others were spotted playing in the rain. William Prentice of the Watercraft Center says his employees made a "No Wake Zone" sign out of cardboard when passing cars and trucks kept pushing water into their shop.

"We had water back here in the building about a third of the way through the building," says Prentice.

Residents like Prentice say it has been almost 20 years since they have seen flooding this high downtown. He says the last time he remembers water that high was during a downburst that hit in 1996,  one week before Hurricane Bertha made landfall in North Carolina.

With Monday's rain and a "would-be" Bertha spinning in the Atlantic now, Prentice says he hopes history won't repeat itself.

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