Big Elkin Creek could have been renamed Enormous Elkin Creek Wednesday as the waters continued to rise through the day following heavy rains in Elkin and upstream. The Yadkin River also flooded fields up to Mineral Springs Park due to the rain.
Memorial Park Drive remained closed Thursday morning due to mud left covering the roadway after the water receded.
The increased flow in Big Elkin Creek came on fairly suddenly, said Robert Fuller, director of Elkin Public Works. “We closed Memorial Park Drive and Front Street at about 12:30 p.m., and we closed the access road to Crater Park because people kept going in their to take pictures.”
Crater Park sits on the banks of the Yadkin River, while Memorial Park Drive and Front Street line the bank of Big Elkin Creek.
“Before lunch at 11, we thought we were OK, and at 11:45 I checked and it was OK. At 12:30 we got the call it had come up those last two feet pretty quick,” Fuller said. “It was a good two and a half or three feet on top of Memorial Park Drive where James Street comes down by the old public works building.”
The bridge crossing Big Elkin Creek at Elk Spur Street was not closed to traffic, which was slowing to get a better look at the creek and some drivers even stopping to take pictures of the water which was just a couple feet below the bottom of the bridge. “That is a DOT street,” said Fuller of the bridge, which is maintained by state Department of Transportation. “If it got up that far, that’s their call on their road.”
Big Elkin Creek crested about six to eight feet above its normal flow, Fuller reported.
“The last time we had to [close streets off] was in 2004-05 when the remnants of a hurricane came through,” he said.
At 3:30 p.m., Fuller said he believed the creek had crested and wasn’t expecting it to rise unless more rain began to fall.
He said Thursday morning that by about 4:30 or 5 p.m. Wednesday the water had receded and was no longer covering Memorial Park Drive. His crews were out all morning Thursday cleaning the mud off the road with tractors and backhoes and was hoping to get it washed down before reopening it to traffic. He expected it to reopen some time Thursday afternoon.
The official rain gauge at the Elkin Water Plant recorded 1.78 inches of rain Wednesday.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.