Destructive storm strikes McDowell, surrounding communities

This pictured was sent to The McDowell News of a downed tree at Top Fuel Grill in Old Fort.

McDowell's neighbors to the east see substantial damage from the storm. Click here to read about destruction at the Hickory Regional Airport.


9:05 p.m. -- McDowell Rescue assisted by Nebo Fire Department, McDowell EMS, and McDowell Emergency Management performed a successful water rescue this evening along Gilbert Byrd Road near the McDowell/Burke County line. Emergency personnel responded to 93 storm-related incidents (so far) today in McDowell County.


8:53 p.m. -- Duke Energy reports 1,755 customers without power, according to McDowell Emergency Management.


7:36 p.m. -- The flash flood warning has been extended to 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.


A tornado watch for McDowell was lifted Monday afternoon but a flash flood warning continued into the evening. Heavy rains and win have resulted in multiple downed trees and power lines throughout the area.

At 2:45 p.m., Duke Energy reported 539 customers in McDowell without power with no estimated time of repair. That number had grown to 849 by 3:30 p.m.

The NWS Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch for portions of extreme east central Georgia,  western North Carolina and much of central and western South Carolina coastal waters effective this Monday afternoon and evening from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m., but the watch was lifted for McDowell shortly before 5:30 p.m.

Primary threats include a few tornadoes possible and scattered damaging wind gusts to 70 mph possible.

Thunderstorms will intensify gradually this afternoon along and ahead of a cold front moving from Georgia into western South Carolina and North Carolina. The storm environment will be favorable for both supercells in the broken band of storms, and ahead of the band, as well as mesovortices embedded in the line.

These circulations will be capable of producing a few tornadoes and damaging gusts through this evening.

The tornado watch area is approximately along and 60 statute miles east and west of a line from 50 miles northwest of Greensboro to 50 miles south southwest of Orangeburg SC. For a complete depiction of the watch see the associated watch outline update.

A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. Persons in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings.

In addition to the tornado watch, there are several downed power lines and trees reported throughout multiple areas of McDowell, including Glenwood Drive, Davis Town Church Road, Old U.S. 221 South, Bethlehem Road, Pine Cove Road and Montevista Avenue.

Southwestern McDowell is also currently under a flood warning, with McDowell County Emergency Management reporting minor flooding ongoing near Old Fort and Catawba Falls Campground. Use extreme caution. Do not attempt to cross water-covered roadways, bridges, or low-level crossings.

McDowell 911 has been receiving numerous calls of motor vehicle collisions throughout the area, including one at Kwick Mart on East Court Street between a tractor trailer and a passenger vehicle and another at the U.S. 221 bypass with no injuries.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily newsletter.