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Main Roads Cleared, Foot Bridges Built As McDowell County Recovers From Alberto

Emergency services teams are getting a better idea of the toll Subtropical Storm Alberto had on North Carolina’s western counties.

McDowell County experienced some of the heaviest rainfall from Alberto. Adrienne Jones is the deputy director of emergency management services for the county. She explained the scene last Tuesday, the day Alberto hit hardest.

"We experienced flash flooding through central and western regions," Jones said. "We had multiple evacuations initiated at residential areas and campgrounds. We experienced multiple landslides and rockslides."

Jones said the priority last week was rescue, especially for residents who could not leave their homes because flooding knocked out access bridges. Over the weekend, crews built foot bridges for those residents.

Now, Jones said, they’ve moved into the recovery phase. She said reconnaissance teams of emergency management personnel have been going out each day to scope out and assess the damage caused by the severe weather.

"A lot of what we’re seeing is flooding in basements, mud in homes and structural damage," Jones said.

According to Jones, the teams’ main job right now is to document the damage so they can determine what resources residents will need in the near-future.

"In the coming weeks we’ll move into connecting these people with resources," Jones said.

All of the main roads in McDowell County have been cleared, but Jones said secondary roads remain closed. The Department of Transportation is working to re-open those roads within the next 30 days.

Governor Cooper declared a state of emergency in many western North Carolina counties, including McDowell. Jones said that’s still in effect with no expiration that she’s aware of.