WPTF Features

Heavy Rain From Storm Sparks Flash Flooding In NC

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- A winter storm packing strong winds also dumped heavy rains on western North Carolina Wednesday, leading to flooding in some locations and closing down Appalachian State University.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reported ( ) high winds knocked down trees and brought down power lines, leaving residents without electricity in several mountain counties. Local utilities reported that power was gradually being restored to affected customers.

Duke Energy reported more than 8,000 power outages in Mecklenburg County and more than 18,000 for its Carolinas coverage area late Wednesday night.

Appalachian State canceled night-time classes because of heavy rains and flooding across the campus in Boone. Students were advised by school officials to move their cars from flood-prone areas, and the school transit system said some of its routes were unavailable because high waters closed some roads.

A statement from Boone police said there was widespread flash flooding, with multiple water rescues under way. Many streets were blocked.

Authorities urged residents to seek shelter and motorists were encouraged not to drive into standing water and to avoid travel.

Steve Sudderth, emergency management coordinator for Watauga County, said the American Red Cross opened two shelters. One of them was to help residents in a neighborhood on the town's east side after they were evacuated. He said no one had checked into either of the shelters.

"We won't know the extent of the damage until Thursday," Sudderth said. "The waters have already started receding."

A tornado watch was posted for much of eastern North Carolina until 2 a.m. as the strong front crossed the state.

The storm spawned tornadoes and dangerous winds throughout the Southeast. Two deaths were being blamed on the storm.


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