Be There When Lightning Strikes

News

Set your text size: A A A

FLORENCE: NWS issues flash flood warning

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning shortly afternoon today lasting until 5:15 p.m. and warned of dangerous flooding in the Bat Cave and Chimney Rock area, Saluda and Tryon and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Doppler radar and automated rain gauges indicated that locally as much as 3 or 4 inches of rain has fallen today
across the warned area, the NWS said. As heavy tropical rainfall redevelops across the eastern slopes this afternoon, high water and flooded streams are expected. Locations that will experience flooding include Black Mountain, Swannanoa, Tryon, Lake Lure, Old Fort, Saluda, Chimney Rock Village, Chimney Rock State Park, Bat Cave and the Blue Ridge Parkway from Craggy to Little Switzerland.

Runoff from heavy rain into creeks and streams will cause sudden increases in water levels and flows, even in areas where rainfall has been light or nonexistent. Hikers, campers and other individuals outdoors must immediately seek high ground and avoid all streams.

As of 12:30 p.m. 834 customers in 56 locations in Henderson County had lost power, Duke Energy said. There were 8,754 outages in Buncombe and 3,200 in Transylvania.

Avoid driving if possible

The N.C. Department of Transportation continues to urge drivers to stay off the roads, as the rain continues and conditions are getting worse by the hour. As of Sunday morning, there were more than 600 road closures across the state.

While residents may feel the need to check on homes and vacation properties in southeastern North Carolina, they will likely impede state and local response and recovery.

“The flooding we are seeing in our state is unprecedented and road conditions are changing rapidly,” said state Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon. “If you are not in an evacuation area, stay in place.”

While some areas might reopen some local roads and bridges later today, travel from central to southeastern North Carolina is dangerous and unreliable. 

By traveling in potentially hazardous areas, drivers are putting themselves and others at risk and impeding access for critical personnel – emergency services, utilities, road crews – responding to this storm.

 EARLIER COVERAGE

More than 300 Duke Energy customers lost power as the edge of Tropical Storm Florence moved into the Hendersonville area on Sunday. Duke Energy crews were working on restoration, the utility said, but did not project a time for restoration.
Henderson County joined tens of thousands of residents throughout the Carolinas affected by the storm, which accounted for at least 14 deaths and had left nearly 1 million customers without power.

Fire departments were responding two reports of downed trees, one on Bearwallow Mountain Road and one on Pilot Mountain Road, said Allison Nock, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office. "Our resources are still in place," she said. "We're not sending anybody out of the county yet." The Emergency Operations Center was prepared to open an emergency shelter at First Baptist Church or East Henderson High School as needed, she said. The county had issued no evacuation orders as of 9 a.m. Sunday.

Here is the National Weather Service account:

Florence will bring heavy rain to the Western Carolinas through monday. The heavy rain is expected to result in significant flooding along creeks and streams.

Rainfall amounts of eight to twelve inches are possible with isolated amounts to 15 inches along the Blue Ridge Escarpment from Henderson and Polk counties northward. Isolated landslides are likely with rainfall totals of six to ten inches, with greater coverage if
rainfall totals exceed that level. areas that have experienced recent landslide activity may be more susceptible to additional landslides.

Landslides, including fast-moving debris flows consisting of water, mud, falling rocks, trees, and other large debris, are most likely within small valleys that drain steep slopes. Landslides are powerful and potentially deadly, capable of washing out roads, bridges, and homes. people living in areas prone to landslides should be aware of the danger and be prepared
to act.

Recommended actions to consider both ahead of the storm and when the heavy rain begins.

Before the storm:

1. If you live on a mountainside or in a cove at the base of a mountain, especially near a stream, be ready to leave in advance of the storm or as quickly as possible should rising water,
moving earth, or rocks threaten. identify a sturdy shelter on higher ground such as a well-built home, church or school.

2. Stay alert. monitor NOAA weather radio or local media for possible flash flood warnings.
during the storm:

1. Avoid driving near steep slopes or crossing stream valleys, particularly at night. never try to drive across a flooded road. potential hazards to drivers include washed-out roads, bridges, and falling or flowing large debris. Turn around, don't drown!

2. Immediately move away from steep slopes and small streams in steep valleys. seek refuge on higher ground away from streams, preferably in a sturdy shelter.

3. Stay alert. Many landslide fatalities occur when people are sleeping. be aware that short intense bursts of rainfall are most likely to cause landslides.

4. Keep tuned to noaa weather radio or local media for the latest warnings and statements regarding this potentially dangerous weather event.

More information on safety and preparedness for potential landslides can be found at landslides.usgs.gov/learn/prepare.php.