In this photograph from the Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center's collections, valley residents watch the engorged waters of the Swannanoa River from the Whitson Avenue bridge in Swannanoa during the Great Flood of 1940. The flood was caused by a combination of heavy rain in the early weeks of August 1940 followed by a hurricane that brought additional rainfall for five days. The result was that over 21 inches of rain battered parts of Western North Carolina. According to the Tennessee Valley Authority's publication Floods on French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers (1960), "In the Swannanoa basin [rainfall] amounts ranged from five inches at Asheville to 15 inches on (the) North Fork watershed and 16 inches on upper Bull Creek." The flood caused damage to roadways, bridges, homes and other infrastructure throughout the valley. 

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