Chapel Hill Responds to Flooding - 3:30 pm – 12/30/2015 Update

Post Date:12/30/2015 2:12 PM

3:30 p.m. update: The National Weather Service extended the flash flood warning for Chapel Hill and the surrounding area until 6:30 p.m.

Previously Released

Chapel Hill residents are being evacuated from Camelot Village and Brookwood apartments along S. Estes Drive Drive today by teams from the Chapel Hill Police and Fire departments with assistance from Chapel Hill Transit. While the evacuations are voluntary, they are highly recommended, said Fire Chief Matt Sullivan. Orange County Emergency is preparing shelter arrangements for displaced residents.

A flash flood warning is in effect until 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, and a flood watch is in effect until 7 a.m. Thursday.

Road Closures

Road closures include Estes Drive at Willow Drive (Camelot Village), Estes from Library to Franklin, Cleland at 15-501, Fordham at Ephesus Church, Brookview Drive at Kenmore Road, and Umstead from Pritchard Ave Ext to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Areas of Chapel Hill that Flood during periods of extended and/or extensive heavy rain:

  • S. Estes Drive in the vicinity of Willow Drive
  • Camelot Village Apartments on S. Estes Drive
  • Brookwood Community on S. Estes Drive
  • South Estes public housing neighborhood on Estes Drive Extension near University Place
  • Bolin Creek out of its banks
  • Cleland Road between Kendall Drive and Hayes Road
  • Franklin Street at Mellette Street
  • E. 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.

Stay Informed

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 @ocncemergency or @chapelhillgov  

Emergency Issues

To report emergency issues, call 911. These issues may be rising waters, fallen trees or other public safety needs.


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