Flash flood emergency continues – 4:50 am update

FLASH FLOOD EMERGENCY CONTINUES UNTIL 10:30am.
FLASH FLOOD EMERGENCY CONTINUES FOR MCDOWELL COUNTY iNCLUDING THE CITIES OF MARION AND OLD FORT…PLEASE HEED ALL EVACUATION ORDERS AND BARRICADES TO SAVE YOUR LIFE…

The National Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg has extended the

* Flash Flood Warning for…
McDowell County in western North Carolina…

* Until 1030 AM EDT Wednesday.

* At 415 AM EDT, McDowell County Emergency Management continues to
report widespread flooding due to heavy rainfall of 4-6 inches over
the past 24 hours. This is causing significant and
life-threatening flooding county wide, especially along the Catawba
River and associated tributaries including Mill Creek, Crooked Creek,
Nix Creek, Curtis Creek, and Mackey Creek from west of Old Fort to
Marion, Nebo, and Lake James. New flooding is developing along the
North Fork of the Catawba as well so additional issues are expected
to develop over the next few hours as streams reach their crests.

* Floodwaters have reached levels not seen since the September 2004
floods associated with Hurricanes Frances and Ivan. This is the
most significant flooding McDowell County has seen since 2004.
Numerous evacuations of residences, businesses, and campgrounds,
road closures, water rescues, and landslides are ongoing. Flooding
is being reported along several primary roadways including US 70
and US 221 Business; therefore, to protect your life, travel is
strongly discouraged unless you are heeding an evacuation order
or seeking higher ground.

Repeating, this is a FLASH FLOOD EMERGENCY for McDowell County
including the cities of Marion and Old Fort. This is a PARTICULARLY
DANGEROUS SITUATION. SEEK HIGHER GROUND NOW!

* The following streamgauge has exceeded Flood Stage:
Catawba River below Resistoflex Road at Pleasant Gardens.
Current Stage: 15.72 feet and rising slowly.
Forecast: The Catawba River may continue to rise to between 16.0 and
16.5 feet over the next 1-2 hours before beginning to recede.
However, the recession may be slow as additional rainfall and runoff
continues through the morning hours.
Action Stage: 9.0 feet.
Flood Stage: 10.0 feet.
Impacts: Numerous roads along the Catawba River from Old Fort to
Marion will be impacted at these levels with several structures
threatened by flood waters.

* Additional light showers are expected to persist through Wednesday
morning with additional accumulations of 0.50 to 1.50 inches
likely. This will slow any improvement in flood conditions.

* Some locations that are experiencing flooding include…
Marion, Old Fort, Lake James State Park, Lake James, Nebo, Pleasant
Gardens, Glenwood, Ashford, Woodlawn and Sugar Hill.

* The threat for additional mud slides near steep terrain is high.
The mud slide can consist of rock, mud, vegetation and other loose
materials.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

Move to higher ground NOW. This is an extremely dangerous and
life-threatening situation. Do NOT attempt to travel unless you are
fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.

Most flood deaths occur in vehicles. Do not attempt to cross
water-covered roadways, bridges, or low-level crossings. Only a few
inches of rapidly flowing water can carry away your vehicle. It is
not worth the risk. Please TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN.

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.

Heavy rainfall over the past several weeks has significantly
increased the risk of landslides, especially in areas where slides
have occurred in the past. Be especially alert if you are near a
stream, especially at the base of a mountain or in a cove. Watch for
loose-moving soil and rocks or a sudden increase in streamflow.
Leave the area quickly if this is observed. When driving along roads
where the terrain is steep or rocky, watch and listen for falling
rocks, mud, trees and other debris.