Panovich: Major flash flooding in northwest part of viewing area

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Major flash flooding was being reported Saturday night in the northwest part of the Charlotte viewing area, according to First Warn Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich.

Around 8:30 p.m., he posted a map on social media of the affected counties. Alexander, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Lincoln, and Watauga counties were under flash flood warnings until 10 p.m.  

“Please avoid this area and stay off the roads in the area in green,” Panovich said. “Major flash flooding is occurring and numerous roads are impassible at this time. Do not drive into water, especially at night the road might be gone.”

A flash flood watch was in effect for most of the Charlotte viewing area until 8 p.m. Sunday. Panovich expected the heavy downpours to continue overnight and into Sunday.

“If you’re driving over the next couple of days, please do not drive into standing water,” he said.


Everything is saturated because we saw a lot of rain on Friday, especially in the mountains and foothills, so we’re seeing additional flooding.

On Saturday afternoon, Gov. Roy Cooper warned residents in the western part of the state to pay attention to the forecast.

“I urge everyone to make safety their first priority, particularly in areas where constant rain has fallen the last couple of days,” he said.

On Friday night, flash flooding was reported north of Charlotte after nearly a month with no rain.

“If you live in a flood-prone area, make sure you have a way to get warnings,” said Panovich. “Flash flooding is very likely across the northwest Piedmont and Foothills.”

Catawba County Emergency Management tweeted the Hickory area was experiencing flash flooding Friday night.

“DO NOT drive across roads covered in water or that you cannot see the lines,” the tweet read. “Some roads are dangerous with cars taking on water.”

Meteorologist Chris Mulcahy said parts of Catawba and Alexander counties saw 3-6 inches of rain on Friday while parts of Iredell County got 3-5 inches. Mecklenburg County got anywhere from .5 inch to almost 2 inches of rain.

The rain is expected to linger through the beginning of next week with heavy showers and thunderstorms. There’s also the potential for landslides.

Panovich said almost half of North Carolina and nearly 90% of South Carolina reported dry to moderate drought conditions as of Friday. June 7 marked 26 days between measurable rainfall in Charlotte, making it the 13th longest dry streak in the city’s history. 

So how much rain are we talking? The mountains could see anywhere up to 9 inches over the next week or so, while the Charlotte area could get anywhere from 3-6 inches.

“This (Saturday) evening and tonight (Saturday night) are probably when we’re going to see the worst rainfall,” Panovich said. “This is a really soggy pattern tonight (Saturday) into tomorrow (Sunday). That flood watch is in there for a good reason.”