Local emergency officials kept a close eye on low-lying areas, responded to wrecks and removed downed trees from roads as heavy rains drenched McDowell County Tuesday with plenty more to come today and tonight.
On Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued flash-flood warnings for McDowell and other counties in Western North Carolina. That was followed by a lightning alert in the afternoon.
At 2:45 p.m., water was three-fourths of way across Greenlee Road at the I-40 westbound off ramp, according to emergency radio traffic. Firefighters were barricading some roads that had been overtaken by rising water.
The greenway in Marion was closed Tuesday afternoon until further notice due to early flooding.
From 1-2 inches of additional rain was forecast for today with another 1-2 inches possible tonight.
“The additional heavy rain will increase the risk of landslides, especially in areas where slides have occurred in the past,” the National Weather Service said in a statement. “Be especially alert if you are near a stream, especially at the base of a mountain or in a cove. Watch for loose-moving soil and rocks or a sudden increase in streamflow. Leave the area quickly if this is observed. When driving along roads where the terrain is steep or rocky, watch and listen for falling rocks, mud, trees and other debris.”
AccuWeather said the region was in for a rough couple of days.
“After Tropical Storm Arthur caused the storm to stall in the Midwest this past weekend, a strong area of high pressure shifting into the Great Lakes and Northeast will cause it to stall again over the Tennessee Valley this week,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Isaac Longley.
This will focus the heavier rain farther south and east for the middle part of the week, with a bull’s-eye seemingly painted on the southern Appalachians.
“A stream of atmospheric moisture originating in the tropics, known as an atmospheric river, will help to carry moisture toward the southeastern coast of the US,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.
“Once this storm stalls in the Tennessee Valley, it will tap into this moisture from the atmospheric river and shove it up against the eastern slopes of the Appalachians,” explained Samuhel. “This will create a few days of persistent and, at times, heavy rain for portions of the Appalachians.”