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Charlotte Area Pounded By Torrential Rain, Flooding

Heavy thunderstorms passed through the Charlotte area early Thursday, pouring rain that flooded streets, caused bridges to collapse and required at least one school to be evacuated.

Emergency crews are beginning to assess the damage of 3.5-4 inches of rain that fell over much of the region.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Tim Trautman with Charlotte Mecklenburg Storm Water Services said the impact of the storm was significant.

"What’s unique about this specific event is that it’s really happened county-wide. We have had larger rainfall totals the past 30 or 40 years, but we haven’t had this type of rain throughout the entire county," he said.

Trautman asked residents to report any severe erosion or sinkholes that may open up in the coming days as the floodwaters subside.

The city of Charlotte said more than 60 roads were closed off because of flash flooding, and the Charlotte Fire Department said it had responded to more than 112 calls related to floodwaters. That includes at least a dozen drivers stranded in rising waters around the city.

NCDOT reported more than 230 road closures as of 2:30 p.m., including two sections of I-95, between mile markers 102-107 in Johnston County. Other areas NCDOT said were affected include:

  • Two bridges in Iredell County have been washed out;
  • Communities roughly along I-77 between Charlotte and Statesville;
  • A 20-mile stretch of I-85 in the Charlotte area that was sporadically closed; and
  • Mallard Creek Road in northeast Charlotte, which was closed after water overtopped the road and undermined a portion of the shoulder.

Catawba County declared a state of emergency effective at 8 a.m. because of flooding, power outages, road closures and hazardous conditions caused by the rain. That declaration allows Catawba County Emergency Services to implement coordinated response and recovery efforts. And Duke Energy is warning residents near rivers, lakes, and streams to be careful as the Catawba-Wateree River basin is experiencing high water and significant inflows.

Meanwhile, there were reports of I-277 around uptown being flooded, as well as standing water in area parks such as Freedom Park.

WCNC meteorologist Brad Panovich tweeted that Little Sugar Creek at Kings Drive set a record crest at 15.2 feet.

The Charlotte Fire Department tweeted that it was responding to multiple reports of flooding, and reminded people not to attempt to drive or walk across roads that are covered by water.

Flash flooding has also led to at least one school being evacuated. Corvian Community School in northeast Charlotte said it was working with the fire department to get everyone out of its elementary school building, and would be sending home students at 12:30 p.m. due to flash flooding at that school's campus. Students were being transported to the high school, where they could then be picked up by parents or guardians.

The Charlotte Fire Department said 143 people were rescued.

In-person classes at CPCC have been canceled for the rest of the day, according to the school's Twitter account.

In Iredell County, Iredell Firewire reported on Twitter that Liberty Hill Road outside Statesville had collapsed.

Gaston County also experienced significant rain and flooding, and the county was under a flash flood watch until 7 p.m., and a flash flood warning for the South Fork River, which is forecasted to reach 14.1 feet by noon Friday, a county spokesman said.

Already, Cramerton Road is flooded. Gaston County Parks and Recreation announced that South Fork River Park is closed until further notice due to flooding.

Cramerton Road Flooding (002).jpg
Todd Ward

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