UPDATE: Rains break sewer, close schools in Murphy NC
Heavy rains, combined with old debris from a storm have created a dangerous situation for the waterlogged town.
Tuesday, January 15th 2013, 1:33 PM EST
Tuesday, January 15th 2013, 9:56 PM EST
MURPHY, NC. (WRCB) -- The curious, with cameras in tow, have flocked to the bridge over the Valley River on Bulldog Drive in Murphy, North Carolina.
"I'm kind of scared," says fourth grader Sterling Hardin, out of school Tuesday thanks to more than two solid days of driving rain.
"My teacher told us that in 1999, it flooded the town of Andrews."
Flooding hasn't been that much of a worry. Yet.
"That's (the bridge area) primarily where the sewer washed away," Murphy Mayor Bill Hughes says.
About 30 feet of sewer line, taken out in the river's rising, rushing water.
"You might say we've gotten the royal flush," Mayor Hughes grins tightly.
More like, no flushing; for eight restaurants, four hotels, Walmart, a couple of strip shopping centers, and a day care center, where staff had set up port-a-johns.
Murphy High School had neither sewer nor water service.
"If they re-open Wednesday, they'll need bottled water and sack lunches," Cherokee County Sheriff Keith Lovin says. "They'll have to make some arrangements."
Tri-County Community College (TCCC) canceled classes on all campuses Tuesday.
"We're on the same sewer line," TCCC Vice President Bo Gray says. "I was up at 5:30 this morning texting students. We don't want to put any more of a load on the system than it already has."
TCCC also was coping with flooding on its CCAT (Cherokee County Center for Applied Technology) campus in Marble.
The Main Campus and the Graham County Center plan to re-open at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, according to TCCC's website. The campus in Marble will be closed.
Tuesday afternoon, a dam of debris had collected by the pylons of the bridge at Bulldog Drive.
"It's what's left from the March (2, 2012) tornado," Sheriff Lovin says.
Our crew had walked onto the bridge to gather pictures for Channel 3's coverage. By 1:00 p.m. however, we'd thought better of it after watching the cracks in the pavement grow wider and deeper. The soil had all but given way on the side closest to Murphy High School.
"There goes another'n," a bystander says, as a chunk dropped into the fast-flowing Valley River.
By 3:00 p.m., an entire section of pavement would be gone; a bridge closed would now be impassable.
"We will do a bypass on the sewer line itself," Mayor Hughes says. "We're hoping to have it running by tomorrow (Wednesday) evening."
But the Valley River's current must slow, and its levels drop, to determine the damage to the sewer line itself.
"We can't do that until the rain stops," Mayor Hughes says. "That can't happen too soon."