Canton, Clyde better prepared for Irma after 2004 storms
HAYWOOD COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) —
If Hurricane Irma brings a lot of rain to the mountains of Western North Carolina, two Haywood County towns are better prepared than they were in 2004. That's when the remnants of back to back hurricanes flooded Canton and Clyde.
The Pigeon River flooded massively into the downtown Canton when what was left of Ivan and Francis tracked through the area.
The flooding reached into homes and businesses. Since then, FEMA and Canton leaders worked to remove many buildings from the flood plain to allow space for the water to go in case of flooding.
“The structures are not there. The houses that were flooded, a lot of those they tore them down, so there's a whole lot of open ground now,” said Canton firefighter Mark Pace, who was also on duty during the 2004 storms.
“We managed and made it through it,” Canton Police Chief Bryan Whitner, a lieutenant during Ivan and Francis, said.
In Clyde, leaders built River's Edge Park. It’s not just for recreation. It provides a flood buffer along the Pigeon River.
Some nearby residents have lifted their homes up high for added protection. Banking has also been added so flood water drains back into the river.
Emergency leaders met Wednesday afternoon to discuss possible steps to take in advance of Irma, identifying possible evacuation sites and readying for sandbagging, if necessary. Right now, they’re keeping a close eye on Irma’s path and the forecast.