Swollen South Fork River has Cramerton residents on edge

CRAMERTON, N.C. — While the water levels are starting to go down in some areas, that wasn't the case for the town of Cramerton in Gaston County.

Parking lots were flooded and some business owners and residents are worried the water will keep rising – and cause more extensive damage.

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Cramerton shut down the flooded roads early Monday and police officers went door-to-door, telling residents on the flooded streets that they needed to evacuate.

>> Even the Cramerton Fire Department had to place sandbags around its building on Monday. WATCH the video above for how the small Gaston County town is fighting to keep businesses and homes dry.

Swollen South Fork River has Cramerton residents on edge

Town leaders are asking people to plan a backup route for their Tuesday morning drive as the South Fork River continues to rise.

“It’s just crazy,” said Austin Ross, one of dozens of people who came to see the swollen river. A 12-foot pole to measure the river’s depth -- which is usually in a foot of water -- measured at 9 feet deep on Monday.

The greenway is flooded, as are backyards and a parking lot along 8th Avenue behind Cramerton Drug Store.

“Seeing how far it is, I’m a little worried because there’s a few houses down that way and it’s already in their backyards. If it keeps coming, there’s going to be some problems,” Ross said.

Many people are doing what they can to prevent problems, including firefighters. The fire department backs up to the river and has sandbags around doors. A yellow tarp that looks like a slip and slide is actually a temporary dam around the fire department that can help keep water out.

On Monday, police officers warned residents on two streets that the flooded roads were being shut down and people may need to evacuate. More roads are in jeopardy.

“We follow some of the gauges further north from the U.S. Geological Survey as much as we can,” said Cramerton Town Manager David Pugh. “We hope it has crested in the last 24 hours, reached its height, but we’re always prepared otherwise.”

Business owners are also preparing. Lee Isley, who owns Cramerton Drug Store, moved some medicines from a refrigerator to a cooler in case the store loses power.

Eyewitness News anchor Liz Foster asked Isley what would force him to close.

“Really, the only time we closed was about 2013 when it flooded the whole drug store and we were just closed that morning. We still opened up that day, that afternoon and the next day,” he said.

The time he’s referring to in 2013 was also the result of heavy rain. People in Cramerton told Channel 9 it didn’t even flood like this last year during the hurricanes.