Patty Wymberly of Newton visited Lookout Shoals Lake on Monday to see the damage from weekend storms that dropped more than 14 inches of rain in some sections of Catawba County. She saw debris spread across the water and washed up along a lake access point.
“I’ve kayaked through here,” Wymberly said. “I’ve never seen it like this. This is terrible.”
Areas in Catawba, Burke, Caldwell and Alexander counties saw significant damage due to heavy rainfall over the weekend. Bridges are out, roads are closed, lakes and creeks are high and people have evacuated their homes. A state of emergency was declared by Catawba County on Sunday. Caldwell County did the same.
Deputy Chief Josh Randolph of the St. Stephens Fire Department said the bridge supports on Kool Park Road NE’s bridge were exposed around 6 a.m. on Sunday. The fire department put up signs saying the road is closed but drivers ignore the warning, moved the signs and crossed the bridge.
Randolph said ignoring the signs is extremely dangerous and vehicles could cause the bridge to collapse. Randolph said the St. Stephens Fire Department will continue to monitor the bridge and other damaged roads in the area.
Mitchell Drive, a dead-end road in the Town of Brookford, is closed due to a large sinkhole that took out a portion of the road. The road leads to some homes at the end of the road.
Rink Dam Road in Alexander County is closed due to a large sinkhole near Sam Pool Lane. Alexander County Emergency Services identified approximately 30 homes Monday that were isolated due to flooded or collapsed driveways
Kelly and Tamara Icard, both Alexander County residents, visited the Rink Dam sinkhole Monday when more of the road fell in.
“Good thing we didn’t get too close,” Tamara Icard said.
Kelly Icard said he grew up in the St. Stephens area. He said he has seen this sort of damage from weather while in California but not in Alexander County.
Ridgecrest Apartments was evacuated on Sunday because of flooding. Catawba Valley Community College opened up its Tarlton Complex as a temporary shelter.
Terry Gibson and his wife Donna of Charlotte were visiting Hickory on Monday. Terry Gibson used to work for Duke Energy and worked at the Oxford Dam many times through his career.
The dam had one gate open and seven gates partially open on Monday. “I’ve never seen it like this before,” Terry Gibson said, watching the water fall from the dam.
More rain is expected through Wednesday and could cause more damage to the area, according to Scotty Powell, meteorologist at Carolina Weather Group.
Amy McCauley, Catawba County communications and marketing director, said the county will begin working on damage assessments starting today and that effort may take some time.
Catawba County Schools will be open on Tuesday after being closed Monday.