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Dam breaches empty Brunswick County lake

September 28, 2018

Dam breach

Patricia Lake now looks like a desert. The Boiling Springs lake is typically is filled with 12 feet of water, but authorities in the area believe a dam breach may have actually prevented additional flooding.

“When I came back and saw this, my heart just dropped,” said Ken Andrews, who lives in the area.

Andrews lives on what was Patricia Lake - which is now dry and desolate - but right after Hurricane Florence, he was trapped by flooding in his pickup truck.

“I stayed inside the truck for 24 hours. It was rough,” he said. “I tried going through all of the flooded roads a couple of times. I was afraid I couldn’t make it.”

He was finally rescued by “a huge vehicle that could pass through all the swampy, heavy water,” he said.

“My road got washed out because the dam broke, because I am between here and the water. So it came through,” said Angela Parrow, a Brunswick County resident.

On Thursday, Brunswick County teachers were giving out groceries to people affected by the storm.

“This is our community. These are our people, especially these are our kids,” Parrow said.

While roads in the area, including N.C. Highway 133, experienced washouts, Boiling Springs Police Chief Brad Shirley said the dam breaks may have minimized the flooding.

“Our community is really resilient. They’ve really come together,” he said.

“I’m alive. Bottom line, I’m alive,” Andrews said.

The town is now getting help from the Army Corps of Engineers, among others, to help get the dams fixed and the roads repaired.

There’s no timetable for the dam repairs, but estimates are that it could take about nine months from the time of the repairs before the lakes will be full again.

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