County braces as severe weather moves in
The National Weather Service said residents in Rowan County and the region should be prepared in the next couple of days for severe weather that could include floods and possible tornadoes.
The area is under a flash flood watch until 12 a.m. Thursday, which means residents should be on alert because flash flooding in specified areas is possible.
Rowan County residents can expect to see at least 3 to 5 inches of rain. River flooding is more likely to occur through Wednesday, weather experts said.
Severe thunderstorms will produce torrential rain that can lead to flash flooding of streams and creeks, with river flooding becoming likely.
The National Weather Service is also warning that rainfall of more than 5 inches can result in landslides and rock slides. Anyone planning to travel to the North Carolina mountains should consider postponing travel to that area or any areas where landslides and rock slides are possible. A landslide has been reported in Weaverville, north of Asheville.
Frank Thomason, chief of county emergency services, advises residents prepare for immediate flooding by staying away from creeks and streams because he said, “water levels rise quickly, even in areas where it isn’t raining.”
He also cautions residents against driving or wading through moving water or going around flood barricades.
An SUV or bus can get carried away in just 18 inches of water and only 6 inches can sweep a person off their feet.
Bystanders should call 911 if they see water is rising quickly, particularly in the roadway, or if someone is trapped by flood waters in a vehicle or in a waterway.
There are differences between a flood watch and a warning, Thomason noted, one of which means residents may need to evacuate. A flood watch essentially means there is heavy rainfall that could cause rivers to overflow the banks and flooding is possible. A flood warning means a flood is imminent in an affected river, lake or tidewater area. A warning also could mean residents may need to evacuate. He said if emergency officials advise an evacuation, resident should do so immediately.
Thomason said residents can prepare long term for a flood by creating a family communications plan and building an emergency kit. He advises homeowners to avoid building in a floodplain unless they plan to elevate and reinforce their home.
Residents should elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in their home if they live in a high flood risk area. Thomason suggested residents consider installing “check valves” to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
If it’s feasible, homeowners can construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
Showers and storms are expected to continue tonight, with heavy rainfall and gusty winds. The chance of rain is 80 percent and another half inch of rain, at least, is expected. The low will be around 60.
Thursday, morning showers should give way to a partly sunny day with a high near 77 and blustery southwest winds around 15 mph, with gusts up to 22 mph. Thursday night should be calm, with a low around 50.
Friday and Saturday should be partly sunny, with a high Friday of 68 and a low of 48. Saturday’s high should be 70, with a low around 45. Sunday looks sunny, with a high near 71 and a low of 50. The new work week starts Monday with a high near 75.