Tropical Storm Nate blows through McDowell

A tornado damaged homes and property in Burke and Caldwell counties Sunday. This photo was taken from Malcolm Boulevard in Burke looking toward Mineral Springs Mountain.


As remnants of Tropical Storm Nate moved through McDowell Sunday, there were numerous flash flood, storm and tornado warnings throughout the weekend and no injuries locally, according to reports.

On Saturday evening’s update, Foothills Weather Network (FWN) and the National Weather Service (NWS) tracked Hurricane Nate’s trajectory through the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi Coast, projected to blow northeast through McDowell and Western North Carolina.

By Sunday, Nate – which was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm – arrived with scattered and heavy rainfall, gusty winds and a quick spin-up tornado that traveled through WNC. Throughout the day, there were several thunderstorm, flood and wind advisories.

According to McDowell Emergency Management, there were 32 storm-related incidents processed through 911 between Sunday afternoon and 7 a.m. Monday morning, the majority of which were related to motor vehicle collisions on I-40 as well as downed trees and power lines.

There were only two significant incidents reported locally: a tornado warning, issued at 2:29 p.m. Sunday with no reported damage, and a car struck by a fallen tree at approximately 5:54 a.m. Monday morning at Crabapple Drive in Nebo. There were no injuries reported in the latter.

In relation to the heavy rainfall, local fire and emergency agencies reported between 2.1 and 5.4 inches of rainfall by Monday’s update. Catawba River was crested at seven feet without any issues reported, while Woodlawn Fire Department reported minor flooding along Hidden Forest Drive off Huskins Branch Drive.

According to Emergency Services Director William Kehler, there were at least 522 power outages in McDowell reported by Duke and REA Energy.

In Burke and Caldwell Counties, the aforementioned tornado touched down near Morganton and Lenoir Sunday night, according to the Morganton News Herald. The tornado resulted in at least five damaged homes and downed trees in Burke and more than 100 people displaced from their homes in Caldwell.