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In Charlotte, Florence Downs Trees, Power Lines But No Widespread Damage

Steve Harrison / WFAE
A toppled tree on a house on Queens Road in Charlotte.

The heaviest rainfall from Tropical Depression Florence may be over for the Charlotte region. Even though the rain is likely to taper off Sunday night, rivers are expected to crest later in the week. There are downed trees and power lines scattered throughout Charlotte, but there’s not widespread damage from wind or rain.

In Steele Creek in southwest Charlotte, which doesn’t have a large tree canopy, there were few fallen limbs. The area looked as though a normal summer rainstorm had passed through.

Credit Steve Harrison / WFAE
Downed Power Line on Shopton Road in Charlotte, North Carolina.

But Shopton Road was closed because of a down power line. Shopton was one of 18 roads closed throughout Mecklenburg County due to downed power lines, trees or water.

At 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Capt. Rob Cannon of the Charlotte Fire Department believed the worst was over.

“I think we’re closing in on that,” Cannon said. “The weather forecast had reported that the heaviest rain was around was around 2 p.m., and we saw that.  Now, it’s 3:15 p.m. and when I look out the window, the rain has decreased. They are calling for it to decrease for the rest of the weekend.”

Cannon said south Mecklenburg had received about 10 inches of rain, compared with about 4 inches in the northern part of the county.

He said flooding can still be a problem, even after rain ends.

“Even though the rain may be slacking off and you may see water not as high as it was maybe 2 hours ago, it’s still very dangerous,” Cannon said.

At North Tryon and 16th Street, there had been 3 or 4 feet of water earlier in the day. The water was mostly gone Sunday afternoon.

Credit Steve Harrison / WFAE
Lucas Picon took a skim board to the muddy waters in Myers Park.

There were Duke Energy crews throughout the city, working to restore power. At the Blackhawk Hardware in the Park Road Shopping Center in south Charlotte, employee Vicki Coggin said people without power were looking for batteries.

"Power’s going out now with the trees falling down, so of course they’re looking for flashlights and batteries that we don’t have," Coggin said. 

Closer into Charlotte’s center city, there were more signs of destruction.

The second-floor of a house on Queens Road West was crushed by a fallen oak tree.

Hanson Drive in Myers Park was closed, as an offshoot of Briar Creek had covered the road with a few feet of water.

High school student Lucas Picon took a skim board into the muddy waters Sunday.  

“Me and my friends took skim boards out,” Picon said. “We might as well. It’s flooded. Over here, I would say the deepest it got was four feet.”

Nearby, the Doral Apartments off Monroe Road were dry. Those apartments had significant flooding ten years ago from Briar Creek during Tropical Storm Fay. On Sunday, Briar Creek was raging, but floodwaters had not risen high enough to reach the apartments.

Credit Steve Harrison / WFAE
Some airlines began reopening their flights out of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport Sunday.

Amanda Freeman, who lives at the Doral, thought there would be more water.

“The storm hasn’t been as bad as I assumed it would get to honest,” Freeman said. “The winds are nowhere near as bad.”

Charlotte Douglas Airport was ramping up again, with American Airlines and other carriers restoring flights. At 11 a.m. Sunday, about half of American’s flights were cancelled or delayed. A number of flights were running as scheduled.