Carolinians prepare for heavy rainfall, possible flooding on Thursday from Elsa

Charlotte braces for heavy rain from Tropical Storm Elsa
Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 4:31 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte Mecklenburg Emergency Management leaders have been monitoring the path of Tropical Storm Elsa and its potential effects on the Carolinas.

Hannah Sanborn with Charlotte Mecklenburg Emergency Management says they expect Elsa to bring one to three inches of rainfall to the Charlotte area Wednesday night into Thursday morning. There are also potential risks of gusty winds and isolated tornadoes. She says the greatest risk to Charlotteans is flooding.

“That is our number one hazard here in Charlotte Mecklenburg, and as little as an inch in an hour can create flash flooding,” Sanborn said.

She reminds people to never drive, walk, swim, or go through floodwaters.

“It’s so important for people to know not to drive through floodwaters. You never know how deep it is and just a couple of inches can carry a car away. Certainly, don’t want to walk or swim through floodwaters. You can have downed trees, live power lines, and other hazardous material in the waters,” Sanborn said.

If you spot minimal flooding, Sanborn says you can report it by calling 311. If you see more significant flooding that could put a life or property in danger, she recommends calling 911.

Tim Trautman with Charlotte Storm Water Services says crews clear storm drains of debris after every storm in order to prepare for the next storm. Sanborn encourages you to check storm drains near your home prior to rainfall. She says to make sure they are clear of debris so water can drain properly.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Emergency Management leaders are keeping a close eye on flood prone areas, but say anywhere in the area is at risk of flooding.

To receive alerts from Charlotte Mecklenburg Emergency Management, you can sign up at

This is one of the first tropical storms to affect the Charlotte area this season, but because hurricane season lasts through November, it may not be the last. People are encouraged to prepare by packing enough water to last three days which is equivalent to one gallon per person in your household, per day. It is also recommended you have nonperishable foods, a flashlight, batteries, phone chargers, first aid kits, medications, pet supplies, and anything you might need, on hand. For a full list of recommendations click here:

Duke Energy crews are spread out across the region ready to respond to outages, according to a Duke Energy spokesperson. There are many ways you can report a power outage to Duke Energy. The following is guidance from Duke Energy:

Reporting outages

Before a storm hits, customers should contact us to make sure their contact information is up to date and their communication preferences are noted, so they receive proactive outreach on the status on a power outage they may experience. At any time, customers can report power outages by:

  • Visiting on a desktop computer or mobile device
  • Using the Duke Energy mobile app – Download the Duke Energy App from a smartphone via Apple Store or Google Play.
  • Texting OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply)
  • Calling the automated outage-reporting systems:
  • Duke Energy Carolinas: 1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766)

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