Cooper declares state of emergency after heavy rains soak North Carolina

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Thursday was officially the seventh-wettest day on record across Charlotte since 1878, with the rainfall putting the area 18 inches above the average yearly rainfall.

Creeks and streams were expected to continue to rise after communities saw more than 4 inches of rain. Little Sugar Creek at Arrowood Road was at its second-highest level on record at 17.25 feet, and it’s still rising.

Flash flood warnings were issued for pretty much all of the counties in our viewing area and were in place through Thursday afternoon.

Click here for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services' interactive floodzone map to see your property’s flooding risk.

A flood warning is in effect along the South Fork Catawba River in Lowell until late Friday night. The South Fork Catawba River will then fall below minor flood stage by early Friday afternoon.

The Catawba River, Pee Dee River and Yadkin River are also major concerns. They may not crest until later Friday.

After several deaths, flood threat remains across state

Flood warnings remain in effect for much of central North Carolina and along rivers across the state, after a cold front interacting with moisture from Tropical Storm Eta caused widespread heavy rainfall Thursday across North Carolina. While many rivers across western and central North Carolina will crest Friday or are currently receding, rivers across eastern North Carolina will continue to rise through the weekend.

“This storm has already claimed several lives, and everyone should exercise caution by avoiding flooded roads and areas along swollen creeks and rivers,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “Our prayers go out to the families and friends of those who were injured or killed by these devastating floods.”

Four people were killed at a flooded campground in Hiddenite. A state search and rescue task force arrived in Alexander County to assist in the search for two people who went missing from the same campground. One death has been reported in Wake County, where a child drowned in a creek. The State Highway Patrol reports several additional fatalities from weather-related collisions or accidents in Iredell, Alexander, Rockingham and Person counties.

Cooper declared a statewide State of Emergency Friday. Local states of emergency have been declared in Alexander, Burke, Catawba, Iredell and Yadkin counties. Damage assessments will be conducted in the coming days to determine if areas qualify for state or federal disaster declarations.

Dozens of water rescues happened across the state. The National Weather Service is estimating more than 9 inches of rain fell in Rocky Mount and Harrisburg. Many other areas saw estimated rainfall amounts between 4 inches and 9 inches, exceeding weather forecasts.

Flooding prompted hundreds of road closures, including a few interstate shutdowns and bridge washouts. As of Friday morning, the N.C. Department of Transportation reported more than 430 state-maintained road closures. The closures included hundreds of secondary roads from the mountains to the coast and stretches of highways including I-95 north in Johnston County, I-795 in Wilson, U.S. 311 near the Virginia line in Rockingham County, N.C. 73 in Richmond County and N.C. 209 in Madison County, where state crews worked on Friday to repair the road damaged when a slope failed. Also, numerous bridges were damaged or closed due to flooding.

State transportation officials urged people to avoid traveling through flooded roads and never go around barricades. Motorists should continue to be careful as travel could be hazardous through the weekend and into next week.

Eta is now an extratropical low-pressure system as it races northeastward and away from the North Carolina coast. Some minor street flooding is possible with this morning’s high tide across southeastern North Carolina. High tides and surf may remain elevated into the weekend.

Major flooding is forecast along the Neuse River and Contentnea Creek and moderate flooding is forecast along the Cashie, Dan, Cape Fear, Northeast Cape Fear, Lumber, Tar, South Fork Catawba, Yadkin and South Yadkin Rivers.

A slow-moving cold front dumped several inches of rain over our viewing area Thursday, causing significant flooding, power outages and water rescues. Scroll below for real-time minute-by-minute updates as they happened.

10:11 p.m.

The Harrisburg Fire Department said a driver was able to make his way to safety after driving through floodwaters near Pharr Mill Road.

9:37 p.m.

A fund has been set up to help families that were impacted by the flooding at a campsite in the Hiddenite area of Alexander County. Click here for more information.

6:53 p.m

Police said Cox Mill Road and Poplar Tent Road are completely flooded after heavy rain today.

They said there is no access to the Allen Mill, Edenton and Granary Oaks communities. Officials are advising people to stay home or find an alternate route if they live in the area.

6:26 p.m.

According to MEDIC, there were 56 vehicle crashes and 13 water rescues in Mecklenburg County Thursday.

6:00 p.m.

Here is a list of roads that are still closed in Alexander County:

  • Sulphur Springs (750 block and at Hill River Road)
  • Berea Church Quincy Road (500 block)
  • Ramie Mitchell Road (200 block)
  • Cheatham Ford Road (1300 block)
  • Rocky Face Church Road (1500 block)
  • Macedonia Church Road (800 block)
  • Hopewell Church Road (1100 block)
  • Millersville Road near Hwy. 16 South

5:22 p.m.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has closed a section of Mallard Creek Road in northeast Charlotte after heavy rains flooded the roadway.

Officials are advising drivers to use Johnston-Oehler Road and Prosperity Church Road to get around the area.

4:50 p.m.

Today is now the seventh-wettest day on record since 1878, after our area got more than 4 inches of rain.

All the heavy rain puts the area 18 inches above the average yearly rainfall.

4:21 p.m.

The City of Hickory said a road and several parks are closed due to flooding.

Rotary-Geitner Park, Glenn Hilton Park and Henry Fork River Park, including all fields are closed until further notice. Also, 13th Avenue Drive Southeast between McDonald Parkway and the Hobby Lobby is shut down.

4:00 p.m.

Officials confirmed another person has died after a campsite in the Hiddenite area of Alexander County flooded Thursday due to heavy rain.

Emergency Services said three people are dead, and an adult and 1-year-old child are still missing at the campground.

3:32 p.m.

Poplar Tent Road at Cox Mill Road bridge is closed due to flooding. Drivers are advised to use Harris Road or another route to get around the area.

3:32 p.m.

The roadway is flooded at West Arrowood Road and Southern Pine Boulevard in south Charlotte.

2:45 p.m.

Authorities said two people have died, and two others and a child are still missing after flooding at a campsite in the Hiddenite area of Alexander County.

Emergency Services has evacuated 31 people from the campground. According to officials, the campers cannot be opened due to the high water.

Officials also a person died after a crash on Hopewell Church Road due to a bridge washing out from high floodwaters.

Alexander County has opened a storm shelter at East Taylorsville Baptist Church for those affected by the flooding.

1:47 p.m.

Here’s a list of roads that remain closed in Concord:

1:37 p.m.

A section of Parkmont Road in Cabarrus County is completely washed out due to floodwaters from the creek below.

1:20 p.m.

Crews in Harrisburg had to rescue two people who were stranded in a car in floodwaters along Stallings Road near Raging Ridge Road.

1:10 p.m.

In Alexander County, Millersville Road and Nester Road near Highway 16 are shut down after flash flooding took out portions of both roads.

1 p.m.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management provided an update as roads remain blocked, cars and homes damaged and water was still rising across our area.

Highlights:

CFD has responded to 112 incidents. There are currently 63 roads closed and crews had to rescue/evacuate 143 people from a charter school in the University City area.

According to the CFD, they have responded to about 12 vehicles trapped in floodwaters, evacuated eight people on Spruce Street and West Boulevard. They said two people were rescued near John Price Road and 13 others were rescued from Nathaniel Lane. Firefighters are also going door to door on Riverside Drive assisting people.

Stormwater Services said 3.5 to 4.5 inches of rain has fallen countywide. Creeks across the county are over their banks. Officials said they have never seen this type of rain throughout the entire county. Everywhere is impacted. As the water recedes, if you see severe erosion or pipe systems that have failed -- or sinkholes -- call 311.

Officials are advising people to check their storm drains near their homes and clear them after the water recedes.

Stormwater Services said it is too early to determine damage to buildings, but said they have not seen widespread flooding inside buildings and homes at this point.

No injuries have been reported and nobody has had to be taken to the hospital from those spots where people were rescued or evacuated.

12:25 p.m.

Reporter Anthony Kustura reports that emergency crews are still searching for five people who remain unaccounted for after flooding at a campsite in the Hiddenite area of Alexander County.

12:20 p.m.

Channel 9 Chief Meteorologist Steve Udelson says we haven’t seen this much rain in such a short amount of time since Hurricane Florence in 2018.

12:15 p.m.

Reporter Elsa Gillis is at Corvian Community School where 143 students and staff were safely evacuated because of rising waters.

12:05 p.m.

MEDIC says they have responded to 36 traffic accident calls and four water rescue-related calls today so far. No serious injuries have been reported.

12 p.m.

I-85 southbound near mile marker 46 is being closed due to Mallard Creek flooding under the highway. Drivers will be detoured at I-485 (exit 48). Northbound traffic is down to two lanes.

11:45 a.m.

In York County, homeowners were having to be rescued at Heritage Boulevard and Regent Parkway.

11:35 a.m.

Firefighters are checking on people in their homes at Spruce Street and West Boulevard near Southend.

11:20 a.m.

From the Lake Norman Marine Commission:

Based on the amount of rain received upstream and the level of Lookout Shoals at 108, it can be expected that Lake Norman’s level will increase rapidly over the next 48 hours. Please advise everyone to expect rapidly rising lake levels and to ensure that boat lifts are raised well above the current water level.

11 a.m.

Deputies are helping the Fort Mill Fire Department with flooding in the road and homes in the area of Regent Parkway and Heritage Boulevard.

10:40 a.m.

143 people had to be rescued along David Taylor Drive in the University City area of Charlotte, according to CFD. Heavy flooding has led to the evacuation of a charter school but no injuries have been reported.

10:15 a.m

York Firefighters had to rescue someone from floodwaters on Sheffield Drive.

10 a.m.

Flooding is impacting Weddington Road in Concord. Anchor Susanna Black was live from the area this morning:

9:50 a.m.

The rain is impacting Atrium Health as patients are having to be rescheduled and employees are being asked to move their cars from a parking deck that has been flooded out.

9:43 a.m.

The Cattlemans Road bridge in Iredell County has been washed out.

9:40 a.m.

Meteorologist Keith Monday says Little Sugar Creek in Charlotte is now at a record level of 15.2 feet. The previous record was 14.83 feet in 1997!

9:35 a.m.

According to Iredell Firewire, a tractor-trailer has jack-knifed on I-77 southbound at mile marker 36 in the Davidson area.

9:30 a.m.

Many Mecklenburg County parks are closed due to flooding, including Freedom, Kirk Farm Fields, McAlpine and Renaissance. People are urged to stay off greenways and out of parks for the next 24 hours as crews work to clear debris and clean up the parks.

9:20 a.m.

Dozens of roads are blocked across the Charlotte area. If you have to be out right now, use caution!

9:15 a.m.

We are probably going to end up with around 4 inches or more of rain today in Charlotte. Meteorologist Keith Monday said this should easily be the highest total for one day so far this year. That’s more than the multiple tropical systems that have passed through this season.

Below tweet from Iredell Firewire:

8:45 a.m.

More than 30 people have been rescued from floodwaters from the rising South Fork River in Hiddenite. A shelter is being set up at East Taylorsville Baptist Church.

8:40 a.m.

CATAWBA COUNTY DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY

Catawba County Board of Commissioners Chair Randy Isenhower has declared a State of Emergency in Catawba County effective at 8 a.m. today due to excessive rain causing flooding, power outages, road closures and hazardous conditions.

The declaration enables Catawba County Emergency Services to implement coordinated response and recovery efforts in all affected unincorporated areas of the county in alignment with the Catawba County Emergency Operations Plan and in collaboration with emergency response partners.

8:35 a.m.

A portion of I-85 near the Brookshire is seeing significant flooding and reporter Gina Esposito watched as vehicles were still driving through the water.

8:25 a.m.

CMPD reporting more than two dozen roads that are blocked.

8:14 a.m.

Reporter Anthony Kustura is in the Hiddenite area of Conover, where floodwaters were still very high.

8:07 a.m.

UPDATE FROM DUKE ENERGY:

The Catawba-Wateree River basin is experiencing high water and significant inflows, and extreme caution should be used near rivers, lakes and streams. Duke Energy is aggressively moving water through the river system, including through our hydro generating units and flood gates.

  • Lookout Shoals Lake is spilling and will exceed 107 feet.
  • Mountain Island Lake will begin spilling by noon today; the lake will exceed 102 feet and could go higher.
  • Lake Wateree is expected to spill tomorrow morning; however, the peak level cannot be estimated until the rainfall event ends.

Lake residents should prepare for possible flooding conditions and closely monitor lake levels. High water conditions can create navigational hazards.

8:05 a.m.

The northbound lanes of Interstate 85 near Little Rock Road in north Charlotte were seeing high floodwaters. Channel 9 crews watched as cars, trucks and even school buses had to drive through it.

8:02 a.m.

Many people woke up without power this morning, mainly in the high country.

8 a.m.

Flash flooding and wet weather causing headaches on Charlotte roads this morning.

7:50 a.m.

In Iredell County, swift water rescue crews were reporting that at least 23 people have been rescued from floodwaters at the Hiddenite Family Campground.

7:45 a.m.

7:15 a.m.

Wet weather closer to Charlotte is causing crashes and major backups near uptown.

6:52 a.m.

6:42 a.m.

6:40 a.m.

Iredell County crews were responding to Cattlemans Road for a swift water rescue after reports of a vehicle being swept into the creek.

Crews were reporting that everyone in the car was rescued but that the vehicle was about to wash away.

6:35 a.m.

6:30 a.m.

Iredell County rescue crews were calling for help from Mooresville and Charlotte Fire Department swift water rescue teams after reports of a vehicle stuck in floodwaters on Mountain View Road. A mobile home was also surrounded by water on Creekstone Drive.

6:25 a.m.

A water rescue is underway along Probst Road, south of Morganton after a car was washed off the road.

6:10 a.m.

In Conover, emergency crews are very busy responding to weather calls. A water rescue was happening on County Home Road in Wittenburg for a reported vehicle over a bridge.

At the Hiddenite Family Camp Ground, 15-20 campers were trapped by floodwaters.

6:05 a.m.

Iredell County officials say they have responded to a fatal crash on Wilkesboro Highway at Pisgah Church Road. It is still unclear if the wreck was weather-related. The Highway Patrol will be investigating.

Rescue crews have successfully completed a water rescue from a vehicle on Mountainview Road near Statesville, in the Love Valley area.

5:55 a.m.

Reporter Dave Faherty was with rescue crews on Mineral Springs Mountain Road in Burke County, where two different mudslides were blocking firefighters from getting to water rescues in the area.

5:35 a.m.

5:20 a.m.

Heavy rainfall Thursday morning has created a landslide 30 feet wide and 2 feet deep. The landslide has covered and closed Kirby Mountain Road near Highway 321 in Caldwell County, north of Lenoir.

Several other roads across the county have also been closed due to flooding.

Water rescues were also being reported early Thursday morning near Valdese and in Alexander County.

5:10 a.m.

4:30 a.m.

[FALL FOLIAGE: Changing colors of the NC mountains]

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