State of Emergency declared in several areas as flooding hits Carolinas

Flooding in Lincoln County

LINCOLN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Emergency crews are on the scene of a water rescue in Collettsville. Two people were missing, but authorities were able to locate one. They are still searching for the other, as of 9 p.m. Saturday.

Authorities declared a state of emergency in Catawba County, the City of Newton, and the City of Hickory, following massive storms that caused flooding in the area.

Emergency crews spent hours on Saturday responding to flooding calls in several counties. As of 9 p.m. on Saturday, crews were still responding to similar calls.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter at Newton Recreation Center, located at 23 S. Brady Avenue, for any Catawba County residents displaced by the flooding.

Before noon, there were two swift water rescues in Newton, officials said.

Citizens have been urged to stay indoors in Hickory and Newton.

Two people were rescued on Old Conover Startown Road after a motorist was swept off the roadway, and a second motorist was swept away in an attempt to save the first. Both were rescued and taken to the hospital.

The second incident involved rescuing a family from a flooded home on McKay Road. Officials from Duke Energy said the Catawba River basin is experiencing high rainfall and that more rain is expected in the forecast.

Duke Energy says the Wateree river basin experienced heavy rains up to five inches in just hours.

Duke Energy expects rapid changes in the Catawba River. Officials at Duke Energy are moving water downstream to make room for any additional rainfall and are working to manage lake levels.

Duke said in a release they do not expect "Mountain Island Lake or Lake Wateree to go above full pond, but are monitoring the situation very closely."

Duke Energy urges people that live near lakes and streams should be alert to the water levels around them.

Duke Energy's website had Lake Hickory's level listed at 100.2 feet just before noon. The lake has only topped its dam a few times in history.

Duke officials said Lookout Shoals Lake is rising, and is expected to exceed 104 feet as the rains persist.

WBTV also took a tour of several flooded out areas in Lincoln County. About a dozen roads remain closed Saturday night after rain water washed out portions of roadways.

A bridge washed out on Howard's Creek Mill Road and sent water gushing into David Scronce's yard. "You just thank God that it didn't come up to the house..that's all we can ask for," Scronce said.

A dam across the street, normally a trickle neighbors say, is now a "drowning machine" rescue crews call it.

Rescue crews are asking folks to stay away from flooded out streets, noting the ground is unsettled and could cave in more.

"This is the most dangerous type of flood waters to deal with hands down. This is most significant and dangerous we've dealt with in the county this summer," Dion Burleson with Lincoln County Emergency Management told WBTV.

On Reeps Grove Church Road, a car was swept away when the water covered the roadway. The people inside made it out. The force of the water also snapped a county water line. Crews were able to isolate the impact to only a few homes.

"I'm just amazed. I know when I was smaller we had some rain like this but nothing in the last 30 years I can remember," Ruthie Conner said. "I emptied my rain gauge this morning..there was 5 inches in it. It's already filled up some more..We had at least 7, 8 inches of rain," Conner's husband added.

The Red Cross opened up a shelter at Lincolnton High School. It will remain open as long as needed.

There have been no reports of injuries in Lincoln County. Rain in the area stopped around 1 p.m. which allowed flood water to recede quickly.

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