Tar River level rises, expected to reach major flood stage

Some Pitt County residents at Town Common had a change of plans as the Tar River rose above 17 feet on Friday.
Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 8:53 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Heavy rain in Greenville caused some roads to flood on Friday, and river levels across Eastern North Carolina continued to rise, including the Tar River in Greenville.

The Tar River was above 17 feet on Friday afternoon. On a day where the temperatures and water levels are right for shad fishing, Greenville resident Sellers Crisp said he would catch “a hundred fish in an hour or two.”

But on a cold and rainy day at Town Common, Crisp sat in his car at the parking lot and rescheduled as the Tar River reaches close to major flood stage.

“This is higher than I’ve seen it in a long time,” Crisp said. “Obviously, not accessible right now.”

Although some minor flooding is expected in low-lying areas such as near the airport on Hwy 11, the port terminal, and residences near Hwy 264,

Pitt County Emergency Management Director Randy Gentry said the county is prepared for the Tar River to crest at nearly 19-feet on Monday.

“As long as we stay in that 19 feet, we will flood in the known areas of Pitt County that traditionally, typically flood each and every time we have high water,” Gentry said. “So, there shouldn’t be any surprises as long as people take caution and heed the warnings in a low-lying area that typically floods.”

Some of the known areas Gentry mentioned include the Dockside area, where some residences are raised to avoid flooding inside.

“The apartments are up on stilts so the impact is to gaining access to your residence more so than damage to your house.”

While the Tar River was an interesting site on Friday for Bert and his daughter, Margot Ward, who attends ECU, it wasn’t a day to stick around. The boat ramp was blocked, and the walkway along the river flooded.

“Oh definitely not,” Margot Ward said about staying. “I mean, you can just look and observe [the Tar River].”

“At least hopefully homes aren’t flooded,” her father, Bert Ward, said. “I think a long time ago, Hurricane Floyd, most of the homes and apartments are no longer in the flood zone, so hopefully, everybody’s safe and well.”

The Tar River flows from the western part of the state, so Gentry said the melted snow and ice adds to the rising level.

The Tar River at Town Common is normally at three to four feet, so it’ll take several days for the river level to go down, Gentry said.

Copyright 2021 WITN. All rights reserved.