NC foothills preparing for remnants of Harvey, just in case

COLLETTESVILLE, NC (WBTV) - As the remnants of Hurricane Harvey pull away from the destruction it left behind along the Gulf Coast, officials in North Carolina - specifically western counties - are paying attention to forecasts.

"We are watching the track closely," said Collettesville Fire Chief Larry Price.

Forecasters on Wednesday said the remnants would move up east of the Appalachian Mountains and they were predicting a couple of inches of rain for the foothills of North Carolina on Thursday and Friday.

Price says that should not be a problem, but if the remnants track a little more to the east there is a chance for a heavy thunderstorm or more. If just a few inches fall in a short amount of time, the funnel effect of the hillsides could transform that into several feet of fast-moving water in the Johns River and in Wilson Creek.

Campgrounds are expecting a lot of visitors this Labor Day weekend, "And everyone will be wanting to get in the water," said Price.

Officials are not discouraging tourists from coming but are advising them to watch forecasts carefully, and if law enforcement or other officials issue warnings, they need to heed them.

Flood sirens are installed along Wilson Creek and will be activated if there is flooding. Those who hear the sirens should exit the water immediately and seek higher ground, say officials.

It is not uncommon, they say, for little-to-no rain to be falling in sections of Wilson Creek or the Johns River, but floodwaters to still be heading that way from higher up the mountain.

Several people have been caught in such flash flooding and have died in recent years.

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