LIVE: Major rainstorm hits Charlotte, flooding threatens

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There is a flash flood watch in effect from Friday morning through Monday morning for most of the Carolinas as a historic rainstorm dumps inches of rain. Water is expected to fill stream, rivers and other low-lying areas after a week on measurable rain across the Piedmont.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services is warning people to get ready for possible flooding this weekend.

North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says farmers are beginning to see the impact of the continuous rain on their crops.

Troxler told a media briefing on Saturday that fields are soaked, and fresh fruits are being damaged because of the rain. He said field crops are also being affected because farmers can't get into the fields to harvest them. He said some of the apples in Henderson County are starting to split open because they're waterlogged, and that the longer harvests are delayed, the more damage that will occur.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared a State of Emergency in all 100 counties in preparation for the severe weather.

“We’ve had a fair amount of rain during the past week and the ground is saturated in many places,” Governor McCrory said. “The combination of wind gusts from various weather systems and any additional rain from Joaquin could lead to downed trees and power outages in many areas, not just the coast."

Public Safety Secretary Frank L. Perry said emergency management officials are coordinating with local officials to ensure they have what they need and are going through checklists to be sure their teams and supplies are ready. 

“We can expect flooding in poor-drainage spots and low-lying areas,” State Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry cautioned. “Regardless of the impact of Hurricane Joaquin, North Carolina has the potential for life-threatening flooding within the next week. We don’t know yet how much or how widespread the flooding will be, but we know there will be flooding.”

To ensure your family is storm ready, the following is suggested:

  • Be sure your emergency supplies kit has enough bottled water and non-perishable food to sustain each family member for three to seven days. Include a weather radio, flashlight, extra batteries, toiletries, change of clothes, blankets or sleeping bag, rain gear and appropriate footwear. Also include copies of important documents, such as birth certificates and insurance policies.
  • Plan for your pets. Gather supplies for your pet and put them in an easily-accessible container.
  • Prepare your home. Clean out gutters and clear property of debris that could damage buildings in strong winds. Supplies, such as lumber and shutters, should be purchased now, and window casings pre-drilled.
  • Determine if you are in a flood plain or flood-prone area.
  • Do not walk through flood waters.  Six inches of water can sweep you off your feet.
  • Know evacuation routes for your area. Listen to local officials and evacuate as instructed.
  • Drive slowly. Vehicles, including those with 4-wheel drive, take longer to stop in wet conditions than on dry pavement. 
  • Do not try to take short cuts. They may be blocked. Stick to designated evacuation routes.
  • Flood water can be contaminated. Avoid contact with sewer water, as it poses a serious health risk. 
  • Stay tuned to local news for the latest advisories from the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center (NHC), as well as state and local emergency management officials.

“NCDOT crews are preparing for this storm and will remain on standby as we continue to monitor its track,” Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson said. “We are ready to shift resources as necessary to address any impacts, and we urge travelers throughout the state to use extreme caution and avoid driving on flooded roadways.”

“The Red Cross is preparing for potential flooding and right now, the most important thing residents can do is to make sure they’re prepared as well,” Angela A. Broome, chief executive officer for American Red Cross Western North Carolina Region said. “Now is the time to finalize your evacuation plan and listen to the advice of local authorities. If you’re asked to evacuate, please do so immediately.”

For more information, go to ReadyNC.org.

Overall rainfall data click here.

Check out "creek cam" video here.

Rain/stream/lake gauges click here.

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