At 8:10 p.m., the National Weather Service issued the following update:
NWS AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DAMAGE SURVEY FOR 19 APRIL 2019 TORNADO EVENT IN MCDOWELL COUNTY. START LOCATION: ASHFORD IN MCDOWELL COUNTY, NC END LOCATION: 1 N ASHFORD IN MCDOWELL COUNTY, NC DATE: 04/19/2019 ESTIMATED TIME:0:26 AM EDT MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING: EF0 ESTIMATED MAXIMUM WIND SPEED: 75 MPH MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH: 10 YARDS PATH LENGTH: 0.63 MILES * FATALITIES...0 * INJURIES...0 SUMMARY... A MCDOWELL COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DAMAGE SURVEY, IN COORDINATION THE NWS, DETERMINED THAT A SMALL EF0 TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN ALONG US 221 N IN ASHFORD, TRAVELING JUST OVER HALF A MILE. MOST OF THE DAMAGE CONSISTED OF LIMBS DOWN WITH SOME TREES UPROOTED, BUT SOME MINOR STRUCTURAL DAMAGE WAS OBSERVED, INCLUDING TO SHINGLES OF THE INN AT BLUE RIDGE AND SOME METAL SKIRTING AROUND THE BASE OF A MOBILE HOME. SOME SMALL OUTBUILDINGS ALSO SUSTAINED DAMAGE. EF SCALE: THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE CLASSIFIES TORNADOES INTO THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES: EF0...WEAK......65 TO 85 MPH EF1...WEAK......86 TO 110 MPH EF2...STRONG....111 TO 135 MPH EF3...STRONG....136 TO 165 MPH EF4...VIOLENT...166 TO 200 MPH EF5...VIOLENT...>200 MPH * THE INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE PENDING FINAL REVIEW OF THE EVENT AND PUBLICATION IN NWS STORM DATA.
McDowell Emergency Management will work with the National Weather Service this week to assess damage in the northern section of county after Friday’s violent storm downed trees and damaged structures.
Throughout the day, quite a lot of rain fell on McDowell causing flash flooding and a couple of mudslides in various parts of the county.
Emergency Services Director William Kehler reported that his agency received a total of 35 storm-related calls on Friday. Between 3 to 6 inches of rain fell in the northwestern sections of McDowell while the southeastern sections saw totals of 1 to 3 inches.
At 9:50 and 10:07 a.m., severe thunderstorm warnings were issued. This was soon followed up with a tornado watch. McDowell was later under a flood advisory and a flash flood warning. By 4:36 p.m., the tornado watch was extended.
Flash flooding occurred on multiple small streams in northwestern McDowell. The Catawba River rose dramatically but crested just prior to reaching flood stage. Fortunately, no water rescues or evacuations had to be done, according to Kehler.
The Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway was closed shortly after lunch Friday due to flooding.
On Monday, City Manager Bob Boyette said there was no damage to the greenway but just quite a bit of mud and silt.
The city of Marion’s Public Works staff cleaned the greenway Monday and it should reopen Tuesday morning, he added.
The heavy rain caused mudslides on N.C. 226A and Coxes Creek Church Road.
Kehler said McDowell Emergency Management continues to assess storm and wind damage along U.S. 221 North in the Ashford/North Cove community.
The damage from the high winds is along a narrow path approximately 3/4 of a mile long. A total of four structures and one car were damaged starting along Gurleigh Loop and ending at the Linville Falls Golf Course. McDowell Emergency Management will work with the National Weather Service this week to assess the area further. No injuries were reported there during the storm, according to Kehler.
Also, multiple motor vehicle crashes occurred along Interstate 40 and secondary roads due to the heavy rain. No serious injuries occurred in these wrecks, according to Kehler.