Flooding, tornadoes possible over next 2 days

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Posted: Monday, April 28, 2014 5:15 pm

A heavy band of severe storms is making its way to the Carolinas and local officials want the public to be prepared for what might happen between now and Wednesday.

It’s part of a particularly violent round of weather across the U.S.

As of early Monday morning, more than 30 tornadoes were reported overnight in seven states, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Ok.

Tornadoes in the mid-West had killed at least 16 people, including 10 in one small Arkansas community after a severe line of thunderstorms barreled through Sunday night. Cities and towns in Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas, and Arkansas have been destroyed by these storms and tornadoes had been reported in Mississippi Monday afternoon.

The National Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg (NWS) issued a hazardous weather outlook on Monday for northeast Georgia, the piedmont and western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina.

Storms were predicted to start tonight and last into Wednesday, with the threat of large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes. The threat for localized flash flooding will increase by the end of Tuesday, and continue into Wednesday.

Monday afternoon, NWS issued a flash flood watch from this morning through Wednesday evening. Thunderstorms were expected produce several rounds of heavy rainfall, with possibly excessive rainfall rates.

Stream and creek flooding may develop from the heaviest rainfall rates at any time during the next couple of days. River levels will increase from each round of rainfall, with main stem river flooding becoming more likely tonight through Wednesday.

Three to five inches of rainfall is forecasted with this system which can produce flash flooding on creeks and rivers, and can occur rapidly. NWS is also warning folks of the increased risk of landslides and slope failures over the mountains.

Emergency Management is urging citizens to remain alert and monitor local medic and weather outlets for any watches and warnings that are issued.

McDowell County Emergency Services is coordinating with local and state agencies as well as the NWS regarding the potential for severe weather over the next 48 hours by discussing emergency plans and weather conditions.

Citizens are warned not to drive down flooded roads. Most cars can be swept off the road and the water is usually much deeper than it appears.

As little as six inches of rapidly moving water can sweep a person off their feet and carry them downstream, trapping them in a culvert or drain pipe. Take shelter immediately when these storms begin.

All families are encouraged to have an emergency kit with food, water, and supplies that can last up to 72 hours and a family communications plan for evacuation.

Tornadoes can develop quickly without advance warning. According to the NWS, before a tornado hits the wind may die down and the air may become very still. They usually occur near the trailing edge of a thunderstorm and it is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

During a tornado, you should go to the lowest level of your home away from windows, corners, doors, and outside walls.

If you are in a vehicle during a tornado, buckle your seat belt and head to the nearest shelter, and do not seek shelter under a bridge or underpass.

Citizens wishing to receive updates from McDowell County Emergency Management can sign up for Nixle by texting MCDOWELL911 to 888777. This is a free service that will provide important emergency information.

For more information on how to prepare for any natural disaster, visit ready.gov.