GREENSBORO — Guilford County did not get the 12-15 inches of rainfall seen in North Carolina’s foothills, but that didn’t stop a dog, its owner and the drivers of six vehicles from getting caught this weekend in the county’s flood waters.
And the rain contributed to a crash on Business 85 that killed a High Point man on Friday, the Highway Patrol said.
Guilford County Emergency Services Division Director Don Campbell said the county experienced “urban flooding” or road flooding on Friday and Saturday.
“The challenge we’re running into with these and other ones throughout the area is that people are driving through flooded roadways that don’t look like much water and they can’t tell how deep it really is,” Campbell said. “Then they find it overwhelming and the waters wash the car off the road.”
The National Weather Service in Raleigh had issued a flood advisory Friday night after two inches of rain fell over the area and up to two more inches were expected.
Earlier that day, Jonathan Charles Entsminger, 42, died after his Jeep SUV ran off rain-slick Business 85 near Interstate 73, the Highway Patrol said. The Jeep entered the median, spun around and struck two unoccupied trucks parked in the area for construction.
High Point Fire Battalion Chief Perry Hall said his firefighters responded to four vehicles trapped in flood waters on Friday night and Saturday morning.
“We had flash flooding due to having an enormous amount of rain in a short period of time,” Hall said.
And emergency officials were bracing themselves for what might come Monday night.
“We’re cautiously holding our breath,” Campbell said.
Meteorologists issued a hazardous weather statement at noon Monday warning central North Carolina residents of heavy showers and isolated thunderstorms Monday afternoon and evening. It was possible the storms could produce flooding in urban and low lying areas.
Ahead of Monday’s rain, Gov. Roy Cooper asked residents to pay attention to local forecasts and advisories, watches and warnings.
“Over the weekend we saw torrential rains that had a serious impact on our state that we will likely feel for several days,” Cooper said.
His warning came after 12-15 inches of rain fell over Alexander, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba and Mecklenburg counties this weekend. Alexander, Caldwell and Catawba counties declared states of emergency and shelters opened in Catawba and Mecklenburg counties.
“Remember, 18 inches of moving water can sweep a car away,” Cooper said.
On a road west of Lincolnton, three men died Saturday after their vehicle apparently hydroplaned, ran off the road and slammed into a tree. The men were trapped in the vehicle, which was on its side and submerged in approximately six feet of water, the Highway Patrol said.
In Guilford County, Campbell said officials responded to two rescues besides those in High Point. The dog and his owner were rescued on Huffine Mill Road in McLeansville. Two other people in separate vehicles were rescued on Riverdale Drive in Jamestown.
Campbell said residents should not drive on roadways covered by water.
Hall added that drivers should heed the barriers authorities put in place.
“Don’t go around barricades or move the barricade,” Hall said. “They are there for a reason. It may not look like a lot of water, but it could be deceiving.”