Florence update: WNC braces for flooding, landslides

As coastal and eastern North Carolina were battered by the massive and slow-moving Hurricane Florence, rain finally moved into McDowell County on Saturday, raising flooding concerns.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter Friday evening in anticipation of evacuees leaving low-lying areas. On Saturday afternoon, McDowell County 911/Emergency Management posted a photo of voluntary evacuations at Riverbreeze Campground near U.S. 221 Business in Marion

“There are no active evacuation plans in place at this time, but we are HIGHLY encouraging residents of flood-prone areas, which would include Riverbreeze, to move to higher ground as soon as possible,” 911/EM posted.

The Foothills Weather Network stood by its projection of 6-10 inches of rain for McDowell and surrounding areas.

“Rainfall will become heavy as the night goes on tonight,” Chief Meteorologist Christ White posted Saturday. “I think total storm total accumulation we forecast of 6-10 inches is very well done and see no reason for raising or lowering those.”

The N.C. Department of Transportation advised residents on higher ground to stay put and avoid travel during the heavy rains. Flooded roadways, landslides and downed trees are likely through the first of the week.

The McDowell News will continue to provide updates throughout the event for free at www.mcdowellnews.com.

Remember to dial 911 for emergencies only. For questions regarding road conditions, dial 511. For general information, dial 211.

- Report all outages and power line hazards using the following phone numbers:

• Duke Energy Carolinas customers – 1-800-769-3766 (800-POWERON)

• Duke Energy Progress customers – 1-800-419-6356

• Rutherford Electric Membership Corporation customers – 1-800-228-9756.

The administrative offices of The McDowell County Sheriff’s Office will be closed Monday as staff assists Emergency Management with storm-related issues. We will provide school and business closings online as they become available.

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