USA – Storm Alberto Causes Deadly Floods and Landslides in North Carolina

After making landfall as a Subtropical Storm near Laguna Beach in Florida on 28 May, Alberto has continued to move north as a Subtropical Depression, brining heavy rain to areas that had already seen one of the wettest Mays on record.

As of 31 May, 2018, North Carolina was by far the worst hit state. Flooding has affected areas of Alabama and Georgia, as well as parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, areas along the Blue Ridge have received 10-20 inches (250 to 500 mm) of rain since 15 May, 2018. North Carolina Emergency Management said McDowell County is experiencing its most significant flooding since 2004 during Hurricanes Frances and Ivan.

At least 4 deaths have been blamed on the storm. Two people after a home collapsed under a mudslide in Watauga County. Previously two TV workers were killed when a tree fell on their vehicle.

House collapse in Watauga County North Carolina, USA, after heavy rainfall from Storm Alberto, May 2018. Photo: Boone Police Department

More than 50 roads in 15 western North Carolina counties are closed because of flooding, mudslides and fallen trees, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Hundreds of people have evacuated their homes in McDowell County, with evacuations also carried out in Buncombe, Polk and Rutherford counties.

The governor declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, 30 May, 2018 and the state has deployed more than 50 search and rescue technicians.

The Catawba River is at Minor Flood stage in 2 locations (Bridewater Dam and Lookout Shoals Dam). The French Broad River stands at 19.72 feet at Blantyre, above Moderate Flood stage of 19 feet.

After hundreds were temporarily evacuated after fear of a dam failure at Lake Tahoma on Wednesday, local and state officials are closely monitoring the dams and are sending state dam safety engineers to areas of concern.

In his statement of 30 May, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said:

“Scattered showers and thunderstorms will continue for the next several days, continuing the threat of flash flooding across the mountains. Primary concerns right now are the stability of mountain slopes and several dams. Mudslides have occurred in numerous areas.”

Alabama and Georgia

Flooding was also reported in parts of Alabama and Georgia, in particular in the city of Helen. Elsewhere in Georgia the Savannah River is at Minor Flood stage near Clyon and Burton’s Ferry, The Tallulah River is also at Minor Flood stage at Burton Dam.

Minor flooding has affected areas of Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.


Meanwhile in Cuba, officials have said that 4 people have died as a result of the storm, which also caused an oil spill in Cienfuegos Bay after a nearby oil refinery was flooded. On 29 May at least 20,000 people had evacuated their homes in central provinces.

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