Four inches of rain floods in Boykins

Published 3:21 pm Monday, August 20, 2012

BOYKINS—At her grandmother’s request, 7-year-old Madison Felts left church in her bare feet Sunday.

“She had on new shoes,” said Martha Felts, who didn’t want her granddaughter ruining her flats in the 3 to 4 inches of rainwater outside Boykins Baptist Church.

Boykins at about 10:30 a.m. received four to five inches of rain within 30 to 40 minutes, said Mayor Spier Edwards.

“I got ready to go to church at 12 minutes to 11 (a.m.) and all of a sudden, the wind and rain just came,” Edwards said.

“I never seen rain like this in my life,” the 76-year-old continued. “You just don’t get 4 inches of rain in a 35-minute period.”

Felts said the rain gauge at her home on East Street recorded 4.1 inches.

A farmer near the North Carolina line recorded 3.6 to 3.8 inches, Edwards said.

The rainfall left 8 to 10 inches of water on Main Street, said Connie Whitehead, who experienced some flooding into her store, Southern Bell Antiques.

“If people (motorists) had just slowed down, it wouldn’t have been nearly as bad,” Whitehead said. “When they hit the water, it came right in the front of my store, and the water would spray up onto the awning.”

Water seeped in through the front doors, buckling the year-old hardwood floor at the entrance, she said. Whitehead also lost an oriental rug.

“I just happened to be here to work on my windows and I looked up and said ‘oh my goodness, water is coming over the sidewalk.’ Within two minutes, my husband said, ‘water is coming in the door,” she said.

Dan Proch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield, said Roanoke Rapids, N.C., and portions of eastern Northampton County experienced a similar rainfall.

“From our radar, we estimated it was around 3 to 5 inches,” Proch said.

A thunderstorm traveling through the area accompanied by penny- and pea-size hail followed by heavy showers caused the flooding in Boykins, he said.

“Our whole downtown was flooded,” Edwards said. “All of this due to the large amount of rain we got in a short period of time.”

Edwards noted that within an hour, the water was gone.

Even though the water receded quickly, Eric Coard said the water was about an inch deep inside his Main Street business.

“It was a mess, said Coard, owner of Whittington Station, a gift shop and commercial printing business.

The water built up in the alley between his building and Emmanual Christian Worship Center and seeped in through the walls, he said.

“The whole room was filled with water,” Coard said. “The floor is ruined. All the seams are popping up a quarter of an inch.”

“Luckily, everybody in the town showed up at the front door with mops and wet vacs, and helped us clean it up in 45 minutes to an hour,” he added.