GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — After waiting 40 minutes on a back road in northeastern Guilford County, Sharan Varner was rescued from her car just as floodwaters were about to pull it under.
The torrential rainfall over the weekend saw more than 80 people saved by high water rescue teams.
“I was like God, the water is in my vehicle now, and it’s still rising,” the 69-year old said as she reflected on the tense moments.
Saturday morning, she decided to travel from her home in Reidsville to visit her daughter in Gibsonville. During the 25-minute drive she turned down Huffine Farm Road.
“This is a road that people hardly take,” she said.
As she drove down the bridge that goes over North Buffalo Creek, she began to notice small pockets of water stretch over the road. As she drove closer to the end of the bridge, she noticed the water was beginning to rise quicker.
“I thought nope, something’s wrong here. Then I noticed the road rippling, and I thought, ‘Oh the water is moving.’”
Varner tried to reverse out of danger, but the current was moving too quickly. Her car was pushed against the guardrail of the bridge.
“I watched this ever-widening sea of water just swallowing up acres of land,” she said.
For 40 minutes, Varner and her dog Freckles were stuck inside her vehicle. The whole time, water began to trickle into her car. She did not have a cellphone to call for help.
Varner began to pray for God to send her a guardian angle.
“You’re going to have to do something,” she recalled saying. “You’re going to have to bring somebody on this road.”
Her prayers were soon answered. A driver noticed her headlights stuck in the water and called 911.
The Guilford County High Water Rescue Squad pulled Varner and Freckles from the vehicle.
“I am forever grateful for them,” she said.
When asked, Varner said that the road had not been blocked off by crews to alert drivers that the road was flooded.
“Apparently it floods a lot, but no one put a warning sign. That should have been someone’s job,” she said.
Varner said she hopes her experience acts as a warning for other drivers, an alert for highway crews to monitor that area closer, and to act as a witnesses tool for years to come.
Varner’s vehicle was not savable. She said she now has no way to get to church or to visit her daughter. To read more about how this has impacted Varner, click here.