Heavy rain possible, preparations underway - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Heavy rain possible, preparations underway

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There was no highwater Wednesday afternoon, no rainfall at all in the North Carolina foothills and mountains just yet. Even so, the Department of Transportation has pre-positioned several "road closed" barricades in case there is flash flooding on Thursday.

It's an effort to save time when the situation arises. On Thursday, as much as four inches of rain could fall as a front moves through the area. A flood watch has been issued for the mountain and foothills. Fire and rescue teams across the area will be on standby for trouble.

Another group will also be watching the rivers and streams closely: gold prospectors. Kathy and Larry Storie were out at Mulberry Creek in Caldwell County Wednesday digging through the creek bottom gravel looking for the precious metal.

"I find from 150 to 175 pieces every time I come out," said Kathy. The pieces are the size of a grain of sand but can add up she says. The chance that flooding could be on the way is actually good news for prospectors, she says. "It washes the gold out of the mountains and dumps it here," she said. 

North Carolina was one of the original gold rush states and experts say people who know what they are doing can find a few flakes in almost every stream or river that comes out of the mountains. 

Last summer's flooding moved a lot of gold downstream, they say, and has created sort of a new gold rush.

"We are very busy," said people who work at the Smokefoot Trade and Loan in Morganton. The shop is one of the leading sellers of gold prospecting equipment in the state. Store clerks said many of the customers are finding gold.

Kathy and Larry Storie said they hope that if flooding does become an issue on Thursday that it doesn't cause major problems. They just hope the gold still gets swept downstream their way.

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