Irma overnight: Downed power lines, strong winds and rock slides reported in McDowell (UPDATE)

McDowell's Incident Management Team tracks Irma prior to its arrival Monday afternoon


McDowell saw numerous reports of weather-related incidents overnight – downed power lines, flooded roads, fallen trees -- as the remnants of Tropical Storm Irma rolled though bringing wind and rain.

The National Weather Service (NWS) advised around 9 p.m. Monday night that Irma would lead to scattered wind damage and power outages across Western N.C. Six hours later, NWS released an area flood advisory for southwestern McDowell until 8 a.m. today.

According to McDowell Emergency Management, the 911 Center fielded at least 33 calls for service related to Irma, mostly related to downed trees and power lines.

At approximately 3:49 a.m., emergency units responded to U.S. 70 East in the area of Faith Baptist Church after power lines were reportedly down in the roadway, blocking both lanes of travel. Almost an hour later, both lanes were opened back up.

At 5:45 a.m., units responded to a rock slide at U.S. 221 North near Winding Stairs Road, shutting down both lanes of travel. At 7:05 a.m., the rock slide was cleared and both lanes were reopened.

Additionally, Duke Energy and REA Energy have reported a combined 200 customers without power, as of this morning’s update.

In a press conference today, Gov. Roy Cooper said that while thousands of residents have been without power – with numbers estimated between 68,000 and 75,000 homes by the 8 a.m. update – and roads are in the process of being cleared, most of North Carolina has been “very fortunate, all things considered” in the wake of Irma.

“Some of our neighbors to the south have not been so fortunate,” said Cooper. “We continue to reach out to Florida, Georgia and others to see what help we can provide for what we know will be a long recovery period.”

In regards to Western N.C., Cooper said the threat of heavy rain and strong winds would diminish throughout the day and did not see any major flooding over Monday night.

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