ASHEVILLE – As flooding and rain from the remnants of subtropical storm Alberto continue to batter parts of Western North Carolina, some areas are starting to see cleanup efforts amid continued road closures Thursday.
City crews were deployed overnight to clear mud off streets, but some remained covered by water.
The North Fork Water Reservoir received over 5 inches of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing the dam to capacity and requiring a release of water on Thursday morning, the city stated in a release.
And the rain is not done: A flash flood watch is in effect for most cities in WNC until early Friday morning, the National Weather Service forecasted. Even light rain could cause areas to flood again. Another round of potential downpours is expected to start in the late afternoon and last through the night, according to the weather service.
Governor to visit affected areas
Gov. Roy Cooper announced a state of emergency for WNC on Wednesday.
The declaration allows the state to coordinate storm response and prepare for any additional impacts. Cooper also will issue a transportation waiver to expedite the movement of utility vehicles and others engaged in relief efforts.
“Our emergency response and transportation crews have been working through the night to keep North Carolinians safe as conditions deteriorate,” Cooper said. “But this storm isn’t yet over. I’m urging people to keep a close eye on forecasts and flood watches, and asking drivers to use caution especially when traveling in our western counties.”
Cooper on Thursday will be visiting parts of counties most affected by the storms, including Polk, Rutherford and McDowell.
Areas in West Asheville still have significant flooding from the French Broad River, the city reported Thursday morning, but the water is starting to recede.
Portions of Lyman and Riverside Drive remained closed due to the river flooding, the city of Asheville reported. Glendale Bridge and Azalea Road also remained closed.
Swannanoa River Road was expected to reopen this morning, according to N.C. Department of Transportation.
In McDowell County, U.S. 221 and N.C. 226 reopened after mudslides and flash floods closed the primary roads for two days. In Old Fort, 10 road closures were affecting commuters.
Black Mountain water contamination advisory
The entire town of Black Mountain has been put under a boil water advisory until further notice because of a water main break caused by storming, reported the Black Mountain Utility District on Thursday morning.
This is the second break in 24 hours, and efforts to fix the breaks have been slow due to continued rain, the district stated in a Facebook post.
Town officials have advised residents to bring all water to a boil for at least three minutes before consuming. Residents may also face water pressure issues, as well as power outages.
“When water systems experience low pressure or lose pressure, there is an increased risk of contamination,” Black Mountain officials said. “This does not mean that the water is contaminated, but that the possibility exists.”
Parks and shelters
Parks along the Swannanoa and French Broad rivers in Asheville remained closed.
The water has receded in many places, especially along the Swannanoa, and damage assessments are underway, primarily in the Azalea Park area. Flooding still exists along Amboy Road, affecting Carrier Park, Amboy Road River Park and French Broad River Park, city officials said.
An additional list of closed county parks was released by Buncombe County Recreation Services. The parks are being evaluated for safety due to high water levels.
The following parks will be closed as staff assesses the ongoing situation:
Hominy Valley Park, Alexander River Park, Bent Creek River Park, Corcoran River Park, Glen Bridge River Park, Hominy Creek River Park, Ledges Whitewater River Park, Walnut Island River Park and Karpen Soccer Fields.
The Buncombe County Sports Park in Enka, Collier Cove Nature Preserve in Arden and Lake Julian Park in Arden are open, and Charles D. Owen Park in Swannanoa will open on Friday, according to a release by recreation services.
At least 40 people stayed in shelters Wednesday night, the American Red Cross said, and two shelters will remain open until every resident has a permanent, safe place to sleep.
The open shelters are located in Swannanoa, Old Fort and Polk County, areas hit hardest by the flooding and mudslides.
Business owners in Biltmore Village share concerns after the area was completely flooded by heavy rains. Matt Burkhartt, Asheville Citizen-Times
Asheville set a record for rainfall in May. The city has seen close to a foot of water in May, smashing the previous record set in 2009, said Sandy LaCorte from the weather service.
Alberto flooding: Asheville, West North Carolina faces more rain from lingering storm
LaCorte emphasized residents and drivers should watch out for the potential of falling trees today.
This story will be updated.