Heavy rainfall and storms over the last few days in McDowell County resulted in minor flooding, numerous vehicle accidents and even a lightning strike to a warehouse in Marion.
Between Friday afternoon and Sunday night, McDowell and surrounding Western NC areas was hit with torrential rain and thunderstorms. By Monday morning estimates around 9:30 a.m., storm totals had varied between 4-10 inches of rainfall, with Lake Tahoma and Little Switzerland receiving 9.5-10.3 inches in peak totals.
According to Emergency Services Director William Kehler, units responded to numerous motor vehicle crashes over the weekend with the majority of crashes occurring on I-40. There were no serious injuries reported. Additionally, there were no reports of water rescues or property damage during the downpour.
Among reported incidents during the weekend included a lightning strike to West Rock Warehouse in Marion. According to Marion Fire Chief Jim Neal, a lightning strike to a gas line on top of the building on Saturday around 7:05 p.m. resulted in a temporary blaze confined to the line. The fire chief said responding agencies quickly shut off the gas with “very little damage” to the property.
There was also minor flooding reported along the Catawba River on Sunday along low lying areas, according to Kehler.
On Monday afternoon, The City of Marion announced that the Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway had been temporarily closed due to 7-10 inches of rainfall. City crews will clean the Greenway on Tuesday and anticipate reopening on Wednesday morning.
A Flash Flood Watch for McDowell continued until 9:30 p.m. on Monday.
A Flood Warning was issued for East Central McDowell and the shoreline of Lake James to last until 9:30 p.m. Monday.