Extensive flood damage caused by Sunday downpours

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Area flooding in Watauga Valley at Crucis Elementary (Jaybird Aerial Photography)

Torrential rainfall has caused extensive flooding across Caldwell and Catawba counties.

 A State of Emergency was declared in both counties Sunday, allowing county officials to pursue additional resources and repair costs.

LIVE FLOOD MAP

Officials in the City of Hickory declared a State of Emergency due to heavy rainfall and asked citizens to stay off the roadways. The Fire Department and NCDOT have closed a number of roads in the area and have performed at least 12 water rescues.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners declared a State of Emergency on Sunday as excessive rainfall has continued for more than 24 hours and is expected to continue through Monday.

People living along 13th Street in Conover tried moving their cars and protecting their homes before the rain moved in however, the rushing water inundated their neighborhood forcing several people out of their homes.

Joanna Thomas was checking on her parents who’s home is on 13th Street and was surrounded by water. “The neighbor’s next door were evacuated, the fire department came and evacuated them out earlier this morning. But as far as I’m aware no one’s hurt it’s just going to be some more damage”, she said.

The City of Conover and Catawba County declared a State of Emergency Sunday. A statement from County officials said in part. “The excessive rainfall has resulted in numerous water rescues, severe flooding, infrastructure damage, hazardous travel conditions and the potential for widespread power outages.”

“I thought this was pretty wild but I’m glad it’s not bigger than it is. Like hopefully this one can get fixed pretty quick. I’ve seen bigger, bigger messes. I’ve seen bridges that are completely washed out,” said Sabrina Cook. She was walking her dog down Sain St. where a 9ft. deep sinkhole forced the road to close leaving residents in Hickory with few options out of their subdivision.

“Our route to 321 I think is blocked. This is the South exit out of the neighborhood this is blocked. So I think Bethel Church Rd. might still be the only way we can get in and out of the neighborhood if it’s still open,” said Cook. 

A woman who lives on Wallace Dairy Road was emotionally spent and physically drained from the extensive damage to her house. She along with several family members worked all day Saturday to clean up the mess left by floodwaters that quickly rose around her house. Flood waters collapsed a culvert in her front yard washing away her cement driveway, then dumped four feet of water in her basement. Her home is not in a flood zone and she doesn’t have flood insurance. She says the repairs to her home will cost thousands of dollars. 

“Everybody’s just kind of checking their basements for leaks and just hoping for the best. There’s been a lot of driveway damage and everybody’s yard’s kind of a river right now,” said Cook before taking one last glance at the growing sink hole. 

The Catawba school system said there will be no school on Monday and it will be an optional teacher workday.

UPDATED LIST OF ROAD CLOSURES IN CATAWBA COUNTY

Numerous rescues and severe flooding have caused road closures and hazardous travel conditions.

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 Widespread power outages are also a concern.

Rainfall totals have reached over eight inches in Catawba, Burke and Caldwell counties. The rest of the area is closer to 1-2" of rain over the last 24 hours.

A Flash Flood Watch was put into effect until 8 p.m. Sunday in the Charlotte area.

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More rain is expected over the next two days with another four inches possible. This may lead to more flooding issues in the days to come.

The slow moving low pressure will keep the wet weather in the forecast through the start of the week. Flash Flood Watch in through 8pm Sunday evening.

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