(UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.) The shelter located at the YMCA will be closing at 3:00 pm due to 0 evacuees, according to emergency officials. 

(UPDATE, 1:40 p.m.) 6590 Bat Cave Road area is back open. However, Bat Cave Road is closed at the county line due to road conditions in Buncombe County, according to McDowell EMS Deputy Director Adrienne Jones.

(UPDATE, 12 p.m.) The National Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg has issued a Flood Warning for McDowell until 4 p.m. today

Tropical storm and flash flood warnings are in effect in McDowell County as outer bands of Hurricane Michael bring heavy rain into the area.

A shelter has been established and is  now open at the YMCA in Marion. For emergency transportation to the shelter, please call 828-652-3241.

A State of Emergency is now in effect for McDowell County due to flash flooding.Please remember if you encounter roadways that have been affected by water, turn around don't drown.

At 5:28 a.m., Doppler radar and automated rain gauges indicated heavy tropical rainfall continuing to fall across the warned area. Localized rainfall amounts since yesterday had been 2 to 3 inches, and several more inches of rain is likely to accumulate this morning. Increasing high water conditions and developing flooding along creeks and streams in select the headwaters of the Catawba, Swannanoa, Broad, Green and Pacolet River Basins.

Many roads in McDowell are closed due to flooding and mudslides. Bat Cave Road near the 6400 block continues to be closed due to a landslide.

A Flash Flood Warning remains in effect for southwest McDowell. Stream levels continue to rise with additional rain still to come, according to McDowell officials. If you live in a flood prone area, please move to higher ground now. Emergency personnel completed a successful swift water rescue in the Crooked Creek community earlier Thursday morning. If you encounter a flooded roadway turn around, don’t drown.

In a text message to The McDowell News, Superintendent Mark Garrett explained why McDowell County Schools were not on a delay Thursday morning.

“Buses were already on the road when any water issues started happening. First incident was reported to us at 6:19 (a.m.),” he said. “We were in contact with EMS early. Just sent a Parent Link out to explain current situation. Will spend much of the rest of the day at EOC and looking at road conditions.”

Garrett released this statement to parents and the community at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

“The band of heaviest rain is forecast to move through McDowell County this morning with the best weather of the day predicted for school dismissal times. Please remember that our schools are some of the safest places anyone could be during weather like we are experiencing today. Now that we have everyone safely in school, we do not want to dismiss at this time to put buses and student drivers on the roads during the worst portions of the storm system. If you feel your individual situation warrants that you need to pick up your student early, we certainly understand and encourage you to do so.”

We will continue to work closely with our local Emergency Management agencies and the Department of Transportation to monitor road conditions throughout the day in order to make an informed afternoon transportation plan. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

According to the National Weather Service, at 7:07 a.m., Doppler radar and automated rain gauges were showing that anywhere from 2 to 4 inches of rain had fallen across the warned area since last night. Additional and occasionally heavy tropical rain bands will continue to develop and move into the region this morning. Redeveloping high water conditions and flooding along creeks and streams throughout the headwaters of the Catawba River are happening.

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