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Hurricane Nate Brings Heavy Rain, Flooding, Gusty Winds and Tornadoes To WNC

By Jesse Wood

Remnants of Hurricane Nate brought heavy rain, gusty winds and a few tornados to Western North Carolina.

Watauga County saw power outages and flooding, while other counties reported tornado damage. A handful of power outages still exist in Blue Ridge Energy’s territory on Monday afternoon, but the utility reported that 1,300 members were without power at about 8 p.m. last night

RaysWeather.com said its coverage area received generally 4.5 to 6 inches of rain. Video and photos of the Boone Mall, U.S. 321 near Holmes Convocation Center, Boone Creek Drive and the App State campus flooding circulated on Twitter last night. See some of the footage below.

The high wind gust in Boone was 35.7, according to the State Climate Office’s CRONOS database.

Watauga County Communications tweeted out, “Roads passable 221 to 421 N State line. Lots of gusting wind and ponding water. Slow down and watch for debris/trees.” Watauga County Emergency Management Director Taylor Marsh didn’t respond to a request for comment about last night’s activity on Monday morning.

Tornados were reported in Caldwell, Burke and Cleveland counties – and perhaps elsewhere. National Weather Service survey teams will be in the field on Monday and Tuesday to confirm tornadoes in the Carolinas, according to N.C. Emergency Management.  

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Deep Gap and Wilkes County yesterday evening and advised residents to find shelter. WXII 12 News reported that possible tornado touched down in Wilkes County between 6 to 7 p.m. and damaged a home and downed several trees in the Parsonville community.

Damage from the tornado in Caldwell County displaced more than 100 people in 30 homes, according to the Hickory Daily Record and the regional American Red Cross. The Hickory Daily Record reported that strong winds knocked over the steeple at Refugee Missionary Baptist Church as the congregation was preparing for its 6 p.m. service. They took shelter in the church’s basement.

“These are the strongest winds I have experienced in this area since (Hurricane) Hugo,” Pastor Darren Peterson told the Hickory newspaper.

The American Red Cross Blue Ridge Piedmont Chapter opened a shelter at 7035 Spartan Drive in Hudson.

“It’s heart-breaking to see the destruction this storm has caused and we may not see the full impact until the light of day,” said Jerri Jameson, Regional Communications Officer, Red Cross Western North Carolina Region. “Red Cross workers are here now, providing shelter, food and comfort, and to help our neighbors begin to recover.”

The Morganton News Herald reported that a tornado was spotted 10 miles southeast of Morganton, where it damaged four homes and an outbuilding in Connelly Springs. Three of the homes are uninhabitable now.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s office sent out a press release at 10 p.m. last night stating that N.C. Emergency Management is monitoring the effects of the storm in Western North Carolina.

“State Emergency Management has been working closely with county partners and monitoring the severe weather caused by Hurricane Nate as it moves through Western North Carolina,” said Governor Cooper. “We are thinking about all those who have been impacted and appreciate our strong county and municipal partners and volunteer agencies who have responded as necessary. The state stands ready to assist as needed.”

N.C. Emergency Management said that damage has been reported in Burke, Caldwell and Cleveland Counties and that National Weather Service Survey teams will be out in the field today and tomorrow to confirm tornadoes in North Carolina and South Carolina.