By Beth Lawrence

A few Jackson County residents had an exciting Independence Day, but not from cookouts and fireworks; they had to be evacuated from their homes.

Residents of a mobile home park on Comet Court in Cullowhee experienced a brief flood late Saturday night, leading the Cullowhee Fire Department to move them to temporary shelter out of harm’s way. The mobile home park sits near Long Branch.

The call for assistance came in shortly before 10 p.m.

“The caller stated the creek was out of its banks and beginning to get around some trailers,” said Tim Green, Cullowhee fire chief. “When we arrived on scene there were already around 2 feet of water under homes in 90 percent of the park.”

First responders assessed the situation and decided that it was best to evacuate residents of the eight homes.

Those homes are older and sit lower to the ground than newer mobile homes, Green said.

Twenty-four residents were moved to the Cullowhee Fire Department as officials began to monitor the situation.

Green said the flooding likely came from a storm that passed over Jackson County and circled back across the area dumping a good bit of rain in a short time. That was on top of storms in Jackson and surrounding counties earlier in the day.

After the rain stopped, flood waters began to quickly recede.

Green and Emergency Management Director Todd Dillard felt confident allowing residents to return to their homes.

“We went to make sure the power was good and made sure everybody got back home safely,” Green said.

Neither the homes nor the mobile home park property received major damage beyond mud and debris that can be cleaned up.

The fire department also checked houses at the Catamount Homes development on Cavalier Drive out of an abundance of caution, Green said. 

The creek was beyond its banks there as well. First responders knocked on doors at homes along the creek to notify residents of flooding. No one was home, making further evacuations unnecessary.

The 10-unit development has experienced flooding and landslides from construction runoff and drenching rains in the past year. A landslide in November knocked a home off its foundation.

The Cullowhee Fire Department was assisted by Jackson County Rescue Squad, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Western Carolina Police Department.