[Photo: The water pooled outside Pauline Daniels’ home, and the church next door. (Submitted Photo)] By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • As the skies opened up, the water kept rising outside the home of 84-year-old Pauline Daniels.
The senior citizen’s house on Doc Brown Road last saw that kind of flooding during Hurricane Florence in 2018. Then, the water was coming inside her home. Last week it filled up her yard until her daughter and son-in-law became worried she wouldn’t be able to get out.
“We had to put boards and all kinds of stuff for her to get outside of her house,” her daughter, Caroline Daniels said.
Storms rolling through the south have dropped inches of rain on Hoke County, leaving fields and yards flooded. Although sunshine is in the forecast for mid-week, meteorologists at the National Weather Center in Raleigh predict even more rain is on the way this weekend.
Even though the county isn’t under a flood watch, saturated ground and soggy drainage ditches appear to be having a hard time dealing with the precipitation. A sunny weekend allowed some fields and puddles to start to dry out, only for Monday’s rainfall to fill them back up.
Daniels was concerned that with more rain on the way, things at her mother’s house could get impassible again.
“It’s raining now,” she noted Monday, as clouds moved in to the area after a brief respite. She and her husband also went and put some boards down to allow people to get into the church, Daniel Temple Revival, located next to her mother’s home.
“Right now it is still high between the church and the house. It’s not absorbing. It’s not going anywhere,” Daniels said.
Hoke County Emergency Management Director Bryan Marley said in an email that the department has been keeping an eye on the weather and the rising water.
“In regards to the rain we have been getting, yes, it has been an unusually wet and colder winter season. Most of the issues that Emergency Management has seen are in the low-lying areas of the county retaining water due to the ground saturation,” he wrote. “Also, there is a lot of standing water in the drainage ditches and canals throughout the county. The areas these waters drain to are full as well in most cases and the water has nowhere to go.”
There haven’t been any calls to fire or rescue for help regarding flooding situations, as far as Hoke Emergency Management is aware, Marley said.
“If the Emergency Management Office is notified or the County Offices notified, Emergency Management Representatives will respond and make sure there is no life safety issue,” he wrote.
However, the county doesn’t have jurisdiction on private property and can’t take steps to mitigate flooding issues on private property. If there are issues with state-maintained roads flooding, the county can notify the Department of Transportation.
Farmers are also monitoring the county’s soggy fields as the planting season for some crops, including corn, gets closer on the calendar. Right now all the rain has caused some difficulties with preparing for the upcoming season, Hoke Cooperative Extension Director Howard Wallace said.
“It’s impeding progress as far as soil sampling and land preparation right now. If this continues on into the early planning dates for corn, then it’ll be a greater concern,” he said Monday.
A virtual seminar this week made note of an interesting fact: from 2012-2018, records showed a “steady progression” of rainfall in southeastern North Carolina – and the trajectory doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon.
“It looks like it’s on a continual upcycle,” Wallace said.
Typically, what they’ve seen over the last several years is farmers who planted corn early before heavy rain, either have to replant their crop or count it as a loss. Winter wheat has been much the same way, too, though it’s too early to tell exactly how this year’s winter wheat crop will turn out.
“Jury’s still out on how winter wheat’s going to be affected by all this rainfall,” Wallace said.
Farmers planting corn usually look to be getting their planting done in late March into early April.