Flash flooding and high winds remain threats in the Charlotte region Sunday, as tropical moisture fed in part by Hurricane Joaquin is expected to continue pummeling the region and the rest of the Carolinas.
Heavy rainfall Friday and Saturday downed trees, caused scattered flooding and knocked out power to thousands of customers. Outages fell to about 900 in Mecklenburg County until a tree toppled onto power lines on North Trade Street in Matthews about 8:30 p.m., knocking out power to about 1,345 customers. Repairs could take until 1 p.m. Sunday, police said.
Nearly a half foot of rain fell in some parts of the area, sending dozens of creeks and streams out of their banks and closing roads in several counties, and another 1 to 1 1/2 inches was forecast from Saturday night through Sunday. No injuries have been reported in the Charlotte region.
President Barack Obama on Saturday declared a state of emergency for South Carolina, where three people have died because of the storm.
Authorities in Charleston closed off parts of the city to tourists because of heavy rain and flooding. There were reports of as much as 10 inches of rain falling in Horry County, S.C. Authorities there said many roads were closed. About a dozen people were rescued from flooded homes in Myrtle Beach, and about 50 houses were evacuated in the fishing village of Calabash, along the North Carolina-South Carolina border.
Rail officials suspended Amtrak service in North Carolina on Saturday due to flooding.
Circulation around a low pressure system over the Florida Panhandle dragged moisture-rich, tropical air from Joaquin into the Carolinas. It created a pipeline – about 80 miles wide and hundreds of miles long – from the South Carolina coast near Charleston into western North Carolina.
That pipeline gradually pivoted from a north-south alignment to a southeast-northwest direction Saturday. That allowed the heavy rain that fell for about 12 hours in Charlotte to move west and then south. But the base of the pipeline remained over the Charleston area, which got the worst of the flooding.
Authorities shut down access to much of the city early Saturday. The combination of large waves and heavy rain caused widespread flooding in the Battery area.
In the Charlotte area, a flash flood advisory remains in effect until 8 a.m. Monday, along with a high wind advisory.
The National Weather Service said steady northeast winds of 15 to 25 mph, gusting at times to 30 or 40 mph, were expected to continue into Sunday.
As many as 7,000 were without power in Mecklenburg at one point. No other nearby county reported large numbers of outages.
Dozens of roads were closed early Saturday in Mecklenburg County, but that flooding subsided a few hours after daybreak.
Flooded roads were a bigger problem in Anson, Stanly, Cabarrus and Union counties. Back Creek flooded in Cabarrus County, and authorities closed several roads in the Harrisburg area.
Authorities reported the Rocky River was flooding Saturday afternoon in Anson and Stanly counties. The river is forecast to crest at more than 27 feet – 7 feet above flood stage – at Norwood in southern Stanly County.
Flood warnings also were issued west of Charlotte for the Broad, French Broad, Pigeon, Saluda, Swannanoa and Tuckaseegee rivers.
On Long Grass Court in northwest Charlotte, a tree toppled into a house just before 7 a.m. It tore off the front of the house, totally exposing a bedroom and coming to rest on an Infiniti SUV.
“It sounded like a bomb,” said Cathy Daniels, who lives next door. “I heard the loud boom and jumped out of bed.”