Following heavy rains Wednesday night, two people were killed in Watauga County of North Carolina. The image below shows the aftermath of the landslide that destroyed the house the two people were in. In portions of North Carolina, prolific rainfall totals have been recorded in excess of four inches in several towns. This incredible amount of rainfall, mostly the result of then-Tropical Depression Alberto, has saturated and loosened the soil, allowing for devastating landslides like the one below. Governor Ray Cooper of North Carolina declared a state of emergency for the western half of the state Wednesday afternoon.
In other parts of the state, there were also issues of flooding. Heavy rains Tuesday night prompted mudslides, which closed portions of I-40 east of Asheville and triggered evacuations of Old Fort and a community near Lake Tahoma in McDowell County. A North Carolina Department of Transportation truck was pushed into the Catawba River, but thankfully the driver was unharmed. The governor said that search and rescue teams from Charlotte, Greensboro, and other major cities have been deployed to assist with any rescues in the state.
To the north in Albemarle County, Virginia, two people have been reported missing, also due to the heavy rains from Alberto. According to radar estimates, over eight inches of rain fell in the area in just a few hours-long time frame. Flash flooding swept away cars and destroyed or covered roads with water. This county is the same one where Charlottesville is located, a city that has also been dealing with flash flooding since Wednesday. This forced emergency management officials to conduct swift water rescues.
Unfortunately, more rain is in the forecast for the foreseeable future, which may make the situation even worse. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates when possible.