A round of strong storms caused life-threatening flash flooding in western North Carolina on Thursday. In McDowell County, swift water rescue teams, firefighters and law enforcement officers were called on for water rescues at impassable roads and flooded homes throughout the morning.
By noon, seven inches of rain had fallen. County commissioners in McDowell declared a state of emergency Thursday afternoon.
A flash flood warning for eastern Buncombe County, southwest McDowell County and northwest Rutherford County remains in effect until 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Flash flooding was ongoing late into the morning with numerous flooded roads and water rescues. Emergency officials asked drivers to avoid all flooded roads, obey barricades and heed guidance from local officials.
People were encouraged to postpone travel until this afternoon to allow emergency crews to handle ongoing flooding impacts. Moderate to heavy rain is expected through the afternoon.
Emergency personnel across McDowell County responded to 87 storm-related calls overnight Wednesday into Thursday. Multiple rescue teams from neighboring counties assembled in the area to provide assistance.