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    Major Flooding Near Charlotte Saturday

    By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
    July 29, 2013, 4:38:34 PM EDT

    Flood warnings and states of emergency remained in effect Saturday night in Catawba County, N.C., northwest of Charlotte.

    No serious injuries have been reported, Catawba County Assistant Director of Emergency Services Mark Pettit said. Crews had to use boats to rescue a number of people from their homes as a result of up to 10 inches of rain falling in the flash flooding.

    One person was taken to an area hospital for evaluation after they were trapped in their vehicle, Pettit said.

    Seven state-maintained roads were closed as of 7:30 p.m. Saturday EDT, Pettit said. The North Carolina Department of Transportation told the county that 14 other state roads will be closed for a minimum of three months due to significant damage including washouts.

    The states of emergency were declared for Catawba County and the cities of Conover, Hickory and Newton, N.C.

    “Everyone is asked to stay off the roads unless travel is absolutely necessary, for their own safety. No one should ever drive or walk across flooded roadways and should stay away from swift moving water, downed power lines and poles," Pettit said.

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    Hickory, N.C., located in Catawba County, recorded more than 5 inches of rain from 4 a.m. to noon Saturday.


    Damage assessment teams have been unable to do their work for safety reasons, Pettit said. Catawba County put a link on its website for county residents to report damage.

    One shelter was opened in Newton, and at least 12 people were spending the night there, Pettit said.

    Earlier Saturday, several evacuees were sent to hotels by the American Red Cross, Pettit said. The shelter was still open because of the possibility of more rain and flooding in the Lookout Shoals area of the county.

    The lake level at Lookout Shoals Dam was at 104 feet late Saturday night. That level would cause shoreline flooding, the National Weather Service's Greenville-Spartansburg Office said. Streams that feed into the lake were also likely to back up and cause flooding.

    "We've been urging people there all day to evacuate," Pettit said.

    Duke Energy would cut off power to the Lookout Shoals area once the lake level reached 104 feet, Pettit said. The weather service issued a flood warning for the area until midnight Sunday EDT.

    Emergency management reported that at least 15 roads were washed out or flooded in Lincoln County with some areas in 2 to 3 feet of standing water.


    Lyle Creek was out of its banks near Claremont, N.C., flooding roads. In Conover, twenty roads were closed because of flooding, according to the city's Facebook page. Two homes were evacuated and three swift water rescues were made after people became trapped in their vehicles.

    Residents and those traveling through the area, including on Interstate 40, are reminded to stay away from flooded areas and roads. Despite the calm appearance of the water's surface, the current underneath could be strong enough to quickly knock anyone off their feet or carry away a vehicle.

    Showers and thunderstorms that could trigger or prolong the flooding will follow through the rest of the weekend.


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