Far western NC counties spared by Florence
Like others across the Carolinas, Swain County residents watched the weather reports last week with caution as Hurricane Florence made its way to the coast. The large, slow-moving storm was anticipated to bring heavy rain to the area that has already seen two damaging storms this year. However, the far western part of the state was spared and only received light rain Sunday and Monday.
“We were very fortunate that the storm track stayed east of Swain County,” said David Breedlove Swain County Emergency Management Director. “County agencies that were on standby to open shelter and staff the emergency operations center were released late Saturday. The east coast of NC will flood for another week or more due to the runoff. Our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow North Carolinians in that area and especially with those first responders dealing with this disaster.”
Breedlove was called out Monday to assist in Columbus County, NC.
In advance of the storm, the National Park Service closed some roads and camping in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The US Forest Service took the same precaution in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests, but areas were reopened by Tuesday. Several activities were also canceled over the weekend.
Swain County turned out to be a destination for several people who had to evacuate from the coast.
The damage from Hurricane Florence is widespread and anticipated to be long-lasting. The storm struck the coast of North Carolina near Wilmington Friday morning as a Category 1 and was downgraded to a tropical storm after reaching land, but its massive size and slow movement caused widespread damage.
The storm led to historic rainfall dumping up to 35 inches of rain in some areas and caused historic flooding that continues.
More than 450 had to be rescued from floodwaters in New Bern, North Carolina over the weekend. At least 35 people died in the storm and 1 million residents lost power.
Buncombe County and other areas just east of Asheville were under a flash flood watch or warning Sunday.
As of Tuesday, 28 counties in the eastern part of the state were still under evacuations orders and water rescues continued and many roads were still closed.