AVERY COUNTY — Avery County was slammed with heavy rain over the weekend, with special note to unexpectedly heavy rains falling on the county over the course of Sunday, June 9.
The total recorded precipitation was not available at the National Weather Service’s Banner Elk meter as of press time, but the Beech Mountain meter showed more than four inches of precipitation over the weekend.
Flooding events in the county were isolated to low-lying areas and several campgrounds that commonly experience flooding, though not all areas around the county were so lucky. Linville Volunteer Fire Department and Linville-Central Rescue Squad were dispatched to Caldwell County to evacuate flooded houses on Edgemont Road.
Linville VFD volunteer firefighter Levin Sudderth said both departments approached from different sides due to concerns over the roads becoming impassable. Linville-Central was unable to assist but Linville Fire was able to approach from Edgemont road. Firefighters had to walk approximately a mile to reach the homes due to the state of the roads.
Avery County Assistant Fire Marshal Paul Buchanan said there were few sustained power outages in the county, with both Mountain Electric and Duke Energy restoring power quickly when isolated outages occurred, including one in the Powdermill area for several hours. The county’s volunteer fire departments were out assisting, checking and keeping roadways cleared, as well as performing small tasks as needed. Buchanan gave special thanks to the efforts of NCDOT with regard to keeping roadways clear.
“Any time we had trees down and road closures, they were on top of it,” Buchanan said.
NC Hwy. 105 was shut down briefly due to debris in the roadway which was cleared by NCDOT.
Buchanan said the county was caught slightly off guard by the intensity of the Sunday rain and there were road closures in Banner Elk and the Crossnore-Pineola area, yet the waters receded before there was any severe flooding.
Buchanan added that Avery County Emergency Management did set up a temporary warming shelter at the Rock Gym in Newland and some of those in campgrounds either left or positioned campers on higher ground. There were also some evacuations in the Linville Land Harbor area. Buchanan added the shelter was shut down late on Sunday evening after the water receded.
Part of the rescue operation in the area included an operation in the Pineola area involving livestock. Emergency workers moved in to rescue some horses from floodwaters, though Buchanan said the goats had the foresight to get to higher ground.