Chapel Hill Prepares for Potential Flooding in Low-lying Areas

Post Date:04/24/2017 4:43 PM

Orange County is under a flood advisory until 8 p.m. Monday, April 24, and a flood watch until 8 a.m. Tuesday, April 25. The National Weather Service is forecasting rain—heavy at times—to continue falling in central North Carolina through Tuesday, which could lead to flooding in low-lying areas of Chapel Hill.

The ground is already saturated as more than two inches of rain have fallen over the last 36 hours. 

Rain could be heavy at times beginning Monday evening. Low-lying areas could become flooded quickly.

Town of Chapel Hill pre-storm announcements include the following:

  • Town crews have been working on pre-storm readiness activities including checking and cleaning as needed stormwater drains, prepping generators and chainsaws, and planning a coordinated emergency response.
  • If you live in a flood-prone area (see below), be vigilant. Pay attention to weather updates and your local media – including the Town of Chapel Hill at – and via email notices (sign up at
  • To report emergency issues, call 911. These issues may be rising waters, fallen trees or other public safety needs.

Areas of Chapel Hill that are subject to flooding during periods of extended and/or extensive heavy rain:

  • South Estes Drive near Willow Drive
  • Camelot Village Apartments off of South Estes Drive
  • Brookwood Condominiums off of South Estes Drive
  • South Estes public housing neighborhood on Estes Drive Extension near University Place
  • Umstead Drive between Umstead Park and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
  • Cleland Road between Kendall Drive and Hayes Road
  • West Franklin Street at Mallette Street
  • East Franklin Street at Park Place

Public Safety Tips if you experience rising water where you are:

  • Immediately seek higher ground
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of mobbing water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not park in low-lying areas.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, leave the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.

Protecting Property during flooding rains

Follow these tips to help keep yourself and your property safe:

  • Get sand bags ready to use if your building is prone to leaks from rising waters during flash flooding. 
  • Businesses with flood barriers for their doors should get them ready to activate.
  • Do not park in low lying areas, along creeks or in parking decks in the floodplain or below ground that are prone to flooding.  Your insurance may limit repair or replacement of flooded vehicles.
  • If you have a stream or ditch in your yard, remove any obstructions, including foot bridges, which may cause water to back up.
  • Draw down rain barrels and cisterns to provide storage for additional rain.  Remember that for every one inch of rain on a 100’x10’ (1,000 sq. ft.) area of impervious surface there will be 623 gallons of water running off.  Make sure that overflow hoses from rain barrels empty at least five feet away from buildings.  Direct overflow into rain gardens, vegetation, or onto rock splash pads that will help to spread out the flow and prevent erosion. 
  • If you see debris on top of storm drains, remove it only if you can do so safely.
  • Keep your children out of streets and away from storm drains.  Just 6 inches of moving water can knock down an adult.

To sign up for emailed news notices from the Town of Chapel Hill, send an email to or visit For more safety information, visit, and download the ReadyNC app on your iPhone or Android smartphone. On Twitter follow @ChapelHillGov, @ChapelHillEM, @ChapelHillFD, @ChapelHillPD, and @OCNCEmergency.

Are you signed up to receive OC Alerts? They’re customizable to receive the important safety messages you want on the devices you want (email, text message, phone call). Visit to sign up now.


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