As heavy rain falls, water floods Asheville parking lot

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Photo credit: Tamera Helms

A parking lot on Merrimon Avenue was submerged in water within minutes Thursday afternoon.

"It was pretty dramatic just because of how quickly the water rose,” Tamera Helms, who works in the plaza across from Ingles, said.

Several cars were stranded in the parking lot, forcing one driver to abandon hers and walk to safety.

Witnesses watched as water poured through storm drains after a 15-minute heavy downpour.

"(The drains) start to volcano, and then I run around and tell everybody, 'Hurry up and get your car out of here',” Calvin Nguyen said.

Nguyen, who has worked in the plaza for nearly two decades, said they have never dealt with flooding like this until about a week ago, when a similar situation happened.

"We were all so astonished (that) our parking lot is flooded. It's not like we are Along the river or anything,” Helms said.

Many believe the flooding has something to do with the sinkhole down the street.

"They were supposed to fix it.” Nguyen said of the sinkhole that has reopened for a third time. “I don't know who is responsible."

City officials said the flooding happened on private property, but they been in contact with the owner of the property where the sinkhole is located about getting a permit to fix the pipes.

"We are just hoping for no downpours anytime soon," Helms said.

The city said the property owner where the sinkhole is has until July 22 to submit a permit to fix the pipes or request and extension.