Black Mountain declares state of H2O emergency
Scenes of heavy flooding in WNC May 29, 2018. Asheville Citizen Times
10:41 p.m. May 31: This is how the Asheville water crews at the Burnett Reservoir prepared for subtropical storm Alberto:
In anticipation of the storm, the North Fork Water Treatment Plant at Burnett Reservoir released water so that it could accommodate runoff from the heavy rains. The reservoir got 5.06 inches of rain Tuesday and had four times the usual amount of water flowing into the reservoir. That brought the dam to capacity and required the additional release of water, according to Leslie Carreiro, water production manager of Asheville’s water resources department.
On Tuesday morning, the reservoir was three feet below “full pool” – the maximum amount of water the reservoir is designed to hold. The reservoir level began to rise quickly after 4 p.m. Tuesday, so two gates were opened to hold the lake at a level that would protect the integrity of the dam, Carreiro said.
9:32 a.m. May 31: The town just issues a state of emergency over water quality relative to a major water leak. Residents are advised to boil water. Here is the text of the release:
"The Town of Black Mountain has issued a state of emergency proclamation. We are experiencing an emergency water interruption that will affect the entire town. Public Service Crew may have identified the source of a major leak and will be working throughout the day to coordinate resources to repair. Many water customers may experience water outages during this time. It is imperative that you conserve water and limit unnecessary use during this event.
"The interruption of water service requires a Boil Water Advisory. Customers should vigorously boil water for 1 minute before consuming it. The town will be performing laboratory testing and will lift the advisory once tests confirm a risk is not present. When water systems experience low pressure or lose pressure, there is an increased risk of contamination. This does not mean that the water is contaminated, but that the possibility exists. You will receive additional notifications as we gather information. We are asking that you conserve water until the situation is resolved."
5 p.m., May 30: Montreat Mayor Tim Helms declared a state of emergency requiring all Montreat law enforcement officers and employees to implement the Town of Montreat's Emergency Operations Plan. Town administrator Alex Carmichael said the declaration was declared merely to make the town eligible for state and federal disaster relief funds that were announced today.
Carmichael said no homes are known to be damaged in Montreat, but that crews will know better tomorrow the extent of damage, if any. "We've had a dedicated crew that have kept things from getting worse," he said. "For all the rain we've gotten, it's been a life-saving blessing that we've had no wind."
Crews were able to open a couple of Montreat streets during the afternoon. Still closed are Providence Terrace and Calvin Trail, he said.
2:16 p.m. May 30: Black Mountain mayor Don Collins began surveying the damage with public services director Jamey Matthews on May 29. The town's first priority was safety, Collins said May 30.
"Our police, fire and public services departments did a great job out there," he said. "They were on the spot, and I'm thankful we have them."
Town employees then concentrated their efforts on keeping roads and bridges clear, according to Collins. The baseball and softball fields at Veterans Park will need to be repaired, he added, but this is not the first time the town has experienced flooding, the Black Mountain native said.
"I've probably seen this about half a dozen times," Collins said of the level of flooding experienced on May 29 and 30.
12:57 p.m. May 30: Floodwaters have driven 51 people to an emergency shelter at First Baptist Church in Swannanoa, Black Mountain town officials have said. County emergency officials told town officials that the east end of Buncombe County sustained the worst of the rain damage.
An emergency officials told told alderman Ryan Stone that two of the flood gates have been opened at the Burnette Reservoir. Cherry Street in downtown Black Mountain sustained some water damage, town officials said.
11:25 a.m. May 30: Black Mountain News carrier Don Talley just posted this on Facebook:
Ive been out delivering newspapers this morning. Most roads i traveled were in good shape with the following exceptions:
--road beside ole guacamoles damaged
-- small mudslide on Allen Mtn Rd. Road is passible but might worsen with more rain.
--west Va Terrace in montreat has problems but passible for now
-'suwanee rd has small mudslide on sterp slope and likely to worsen b
--GREYEAGLE is heavily damaged at parking lot for trailhead and pond
--Greyeagle shoulder is collapsing into Flat Creek just a bit up fron assembly inn.
-- texas rd ext near tennis courts is mudcovered but passible.
--robt lake park is damage but i didnt stop to assesd level of damage.
11:19 a.m. MONTREAT - The dam at Lake Susan in Montreat seems to be just fine, said Tanner Pickett, spokesman for the Montreat Conference Center, which owns the lake. During conditions like these, the center monitors the dam along with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which as of late morning May 30 had not contacted it with any concerns, Pickett said.
Flat Creek has laid waste to Robert Lake Park, however, he said. Just one week before the conference center’s summer season begins, flooding at Flat Creek had destroyed one park bridge, made a second bridge impassable, washed several picnic tables away and undermined a concrete sidewalk – all after the center had spruced up the park for the summer season, Pickett said.
“The park is closed to the public, and it’s likely that it will stay that way a while while we assess damage and determine what needs to happen, he said. Additionally in Montreat, Calvin Trail to Montreat Campground is impassable.
11:01 a.m. May 30: Here's the latest weather report through Friday night from the National Weather Service:
Today: A chance of showers and thunderstorms, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 78. South southeast wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm, mainly before 11pm, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11pm. Patchy fog after 2am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 65. South southeast wind 3 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
A chance of showers and thunderstorms before 11am, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm between 11am and 1pm, then showers and thunderstorms likely after 1pm. Patchy fog before 10am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 82. Calm wind becoming west southwest around 6 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm before 10pm, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 10pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 64. Light west wind. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
A chance of showers before 9am, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms between 9am and 1pm, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 1pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 83. Calm wind becoming west northwest 5 to 8 mph in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 65.
More weather, closure updates:
10:57 a.m. May 30: The State Highway Patrol has issued this alert regarding I-40: "Due to a mudslide, the right two westbound lanes and the left eastbound lane are closed in Old Fort, one mile east of Exit 66, Dunsmore Avenue. The lanes are expected to reopen by Friday at 1:00 PM."
10:39 a.m. May 30: Montreat has had several mudslides along Suwannee Drive, town clerk Angie Murphy said. Several roads were inaccessible, and as of 10:30 a.m., the town had already cleared downed tree and clogged storm drains to help residents get out of their driveways, she said. Murphy was no aware of any medical emergencies, nor damage to houses along Flat Creek, which had jumped its banks.
10:23 a.m.: May 30: All lanes of Interstate 40 between Black Mountain and Asheville are clear. Social media accounts indicate that the westbound lane of I40 form Old Fort to Black Mountain has one lane open.
10:21 a.m. May 30: The 600-some Black Mountain residents who receive water from the city of Asheville were notified Wednesday afternoon to boil their water due to a waterline repair caused by the flooding. The city advised residents to boil water vigorously for one minute prior to consuming it.
“This does not mean that the water is contaminated, but that the possibility exists,” the city said in an alert sent to affected residents. The repairs will cause low to no water pressure until complete, the city advised. Once repairs are completed, taps should be run until the water runs clear, the city said.
9 a.m. May 30: Rain continued to fall overnight in Black Mountain leading to more evacuations around Flat Creek on May 29.
9 a.m. May 30: Firefighters working until midnight evacuated an additional 75 people around the waterway after eight residents earlier in the day were ordered to leave their homes on Portmanvilla Road, Bell Street, Charges Court and Carefree Lane.
Residents from Flat Creek Road, Alpine Shadow Lane and Armory Drive were evacuated about 10 p.m. Tuesday night, said John Wilson, deputy chief of the Black Mountain Fire Department. Around 20 residents of Soundview Family Care on Center Avenue were moved as well.
There were no reports of injuries related to the floods. Some residents were evacuated with boats, Wilson said.
"The rains came up fast," he said. "We had patrolled a lot the creeks an hour before the evacuation and everything seemed fine."
However, as rain continued to fall throughout the day, Flat Creek began spilling over its banks and the greenway that runs along it was underwater. The water then spilled out onto Charlotte Street behind Black Mountain Primary School, forcing the town to close the road.
Water from Flat Creek filled the parking lot of Ole's Guacamoles at 401 East State Street and the owner of the business posted on Facebook that there was an inch of water in the building on the morning of May 30.
The local fire department received mutual aid from Enka, Asheville, Swannanoa and Skyland Fire Departments and a water rescue team from Henderson County, Wilson said.
Buncombe County Schools cancelled sessions in the Owen district on May 30 as a result of flooding on area roadways
Town officials began surveying some of the damage that morning, as forecasts called for more rain.
The baseball and softball fields in Veterans Park were covered by at least a foot of standing water after the Swannanoa River crested its bank along the disc golf course. Cherry Street in downtown Black Mountain sustained some water damage, town officials said. County emergency officials told town officials that the east end of Buncombe County sustained the worst of the rain damage.
An emergency officials told told alderman Ryan Stone that two of the flood gates have been opened at the Burnette Reservoir. The town also reported that 51 people were staying in the emergency shelter at First Baptist Church in Swannanoa.
Earlier Tuesday, the town issued a code red alert to warn residents of a flash flood warning from 3:14-5:45 p.m. May 29. The warning stated that nearly three inches of rain had fallen in eastern Buncombe County since 7 a.m. that morning.