6+ inches of rain swamps Charlotte; several saved from floods | News
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A line of storms waterlogged the Charlotte area Friday afternoon causing more than 75 incidents on roads, a ceiling collapse at a business, and many water incidents -- including a robbery suspect who drowned.
More than six inches of rain fell in some portions of the city within a six-hour window, causing 77 active road incidents by 2:30 pm. By 5 pm, a neighborhood in West Charlotte was evacuated and crews were searching for one person in a south Charlotte stream near Sardis Road North.
Related: Robbery suspect drowns in getaway
A drowning was reported in South Charlotte around 5:15 pm after one person was rescued from the same area at Sardis Road North near Crown Point Drive. Those incidents were related to a robbery at a clothing store there earlier in the day, police said
Because of the deluge, the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for central Mecklenburg County and then extended it with a flood warning until 6:30 p.m., when it was then replaced with a flood advisory.
The drowning incident stemmed from a robbery call around 2:20 p.m., when firefighters and police were called to southeast Charlotte at Sardis Road North near Crown Point Drive for a near drowning in a creek behind a shopping center.
A MEDIC spokesperson said one patient was treated at the scene, and that a second ambulance was also sent there for another possible patient. Around 5:25 pm officials announced that a person had drowned. Police then linked the drowning to a robbery suspect.
Crews were also in West Charlotte in the Clanton Park community on Crestfield Drive where that neighborhood was evacuated because of high water coming out of Irwin Creek. At least one woman was carried by crews from her home as the same creek that flooded West Blvd. and I-77 threatened the area.
The rain was so severe during the early part of the afternoon, officials closed southbound Interstate 85 at Statesville Avenue (exit 38), and then later closed a ramp from southbound I-85 to I-77.
By 1:15 p.m., the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said they were working 45 traffic-related incidents throughout the city. That number jumped to more than 77 incidents around 2:30 p.m. when another round of heavy rain moved through the area.
Some of the incidents involved injured patients, but they also included calls for blocked roads, disabled cars and inoperable traffic lights.
At one business near Freedom Drive, 30 cars were completely flooded when nearby Stewart Creek overflowed its banks nearly covering cars with muddy water up to their roofs. Many of the vehicles would have floated away had it not been for a chain-linked fence surrounding the property.
The overflowed creek also caused a section of Morehead Street near the WBTV studios to flood. The softball field at Bryant Park was transformed into a lake.
Other creeks such as Little Sugar, Sugar, Briar, McMullen and Back Creek were above flood stage at 3:30 p.m., and continued to rise above flood stage throughout the afternoon.
Officials warned that people should not attempt to drive or walk through floodwater. They say it only takes six inches of moving water to sweep a person off their feet.
The severe weather started just before noon as the NWS issued a Flood Advisory for Lincoln, Gaston, Mecklenburg and Cleveland counties.
Multiple flash-flood incidents were reported throughout the Charlotte metro area starting around noon.
The Charlotte Fire Department responded to flood rescues at 1100 Metropolitan Avenue, Freedom Drive, Woodruff Place and 1401 West Trade Street. The old CharlotteTown Mall area near downtown seemed to be one of the most affected areas.
Sola Salon in Charlotte's Southend area had its ceiling cave in on several customers while they were getting their nails and hair done. The incident happened around 12:30 p.m. at a salon in the Atherton Mills development on South Boulevard. Several women had their hair and nails ruined and the ceiling was destroyed, but no one was hurt.
Around 12:05 p.m., there were unconfirmed reports of lightning striking a house at 1110 Princeton Avenue in Charlotte.
Lightning is also blamed for sparking a fire early Friday morning at rug company in Boiling Springs, NC. Click to read more on this story.
As of 4 p.m., the Duke Energy website reported about 3,771 outages throughout North and South Carolina. In the WBTV coverage area, the highest number of outages were in Mecklenburg (1,657), Gaston (962), Lincoln (171), and Cabarrus (107).
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