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home : news : e-news October 16, 2018

10/11/2018 5:45:00 AM
Tropical Storm Michael Update
Photographer Bill Ward sent us this photo of an accident on US321 near Exit 33 (Startown Road) about 10 AM Thursday.  The rain will create puddling that could lead to hydroplaning even on major roadways.  Exercise caution while driving.
Photographer Bill Ward sent us this photo
of an accident on US321 near Exit 33
(Startown Road) about 10 AM Thursday. 
The rain will create puddling that could
lead to hydroplaning even on major
roadways.  Exercise caution while driving.

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

Hurricane Michael roared ashore on the Florida panhandle Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 storm.  By Wednesday night, it had moved northeastward into Georgia but was still strong enough to be classified as a Category 2 hurricane.  Overnight, Michael weakened to a tropical storm and will roll through North Carolina Thursday afternoon between Charlotte and Wilmington. At 11 AM Thursday the center of the storm was located about 35 miles south-southeast of Charlotte, and was moving northeast at 23 mph, according to the hurricane center. It's expected to keep blowing across central and eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia before crossing into the Atlantic Ocean by late Thursday or early Friday.

The National Hurricane Center issued the following statement:

Michael is moving toward the northeast near 21 mph and this motion isexpected to continue with an increase in forward speed through Thursday night. On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move through eastern Georgia into central South Carolina Thursday morning, then move across portions of central and eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean by late  Thursday night or early Friday. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 50 mph with higher gusts. Some additional weakening is expected Thursday.

Lincoln County Schools posted on their website:

For the safety of our students, families, and staff, Lincoln County Schools will be closed for all students and staff on Thursday October 11.  As of 4 am, the National Weather Service placed Lincoln County under a Tropical Storm Warning with wind speeds predicted in excess of 35 to 50 miles per hour.  Parent-Student Conferences will be canceled for Thursday afternoon as well as all sporting events.  Student and staff safety is a top priority so please stay safe as the storm passes. 

Gaston County Schools issued the following:

Because of inclement weather associated with Hurricane Michael, all schools are closed today (Thursday, October 11) for students.  All activities scheduled for today, including parent-teacher conferences and sports, are canceled.  It is an Optional Teacher Workday. 

Cleveland County Schools will also be closed Thursday.  It will be an optional teacher workday.

Lincoln County Emergency Services issued a news release  Wednesday afternoon. In part, it said that Lincoln County Emergency Management will be operating the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) early Thursday morning.  The Emergency Management Information Line, 704-479-2079, has been activated and will be functional for the duration of the event.  If the line is not answered, Emergency Management staff will continue to monitor messages and attempt to return all calls in a timely manner.  

Officials are continuing to monitor the weather and forecasts and are prepared to make emergency response related decisions including and up to the opening of shelters should the need arise.

The National Weather Service updated its Tropical Storm Warning Thursday morning to include Lincoln, Gaston, Catawba & Cleveland counties as well as others nearby.  Their statement said:

- LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: Below tropical storm force wind
- Peak Wind Forecast: 10-20 mph with gusts to 35 mph
- POTENTIAL THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY: Potential for wind 39 to 57 mph-  - -PLAN: Plan for hazardous wind of equivalent tropical storm force due to possible forecast changes in track, size, or intensity.
- PREPARE: Efforts to protect property should now be underway. Prepare for limited wind damage.
- ACT: Act now to complete preparations before the wind becomes hazardous.
- Damage to porches, awnings, carports, sheds, and unanchored mobile homes.      Unsecured lightweight objects blown about. 
- Many large tree limbs broken off. A few trees snapped or uprooted, but with greater numbers in places where trees are shallow rooted. Some fences and roadway signs blown over.
- A few roads impassable from debris, particularly within urban or heavily wooded places. Hazardous driving conditions on bridges and other elevated roadways.
- Scattered power and communications outages.

- LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: Flash Flood Watch is in effect
- Peak Rainfall Amounts: Additional 3-6 inches, with locally
higher amounts
- POTENTIAL THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY: Potential for major flooding rain
- PLAN: Emergency plans should include the potential for major flooding from heavy rain. Evacuations and rescues are likely.
- PREPARE: Strongly consider protective actions, especially if you are in an area vulnerable to flooding. 
- ACT: Heed any flood watches and warnings. Failure to take action will likely result in serious injury or loss of life.
- Major rainfall flooding may prompt many evacuations and rescues.
- Rivers and tributaries may rapidly overflow their banks in multiple places. Small streams, creeks, canals, arroyos, and ditches may become dangerous rivers. In mountain areas, destructive runoff may run quickly down valleys while increasing susceptibility to rockslides and mudslides. Flood control systems and barriers may become stressed.
- Flood waters can enter many structures within multiple communities, some structures becoming uninhabitable or washed away. Many places where flood waters may cover escape routes. Streets and parking lots become rivers of moving water with underpasses submerged. Driving conditions become dangerous. Many road and bridge closures with some weakened or washed out.

The actual National Weather Service forecast (updated at 1 PM Thursday) calls for:

Thursday afternoon
Showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 4 pm, then a slight chance of showers. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 76. Breezy, with a north northwest wind 17 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.

Thursday night
Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming clear, with a low around 50. West northwest wind 8 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Sunny, with a high near 72. North northwest wind 5 to 7 mph.

While many appear to have chosen to treat the storm as a serious threat, we do not want to alarm readers.  We monitor numerous weather services during periods when the weather is potentially dangerous, and our best source is calling for us (Lincoln County) to have about 2.5 inches of rain Thursday with sustained winds of 20-25 mph and gusts of about 30-35 mph but with occasional rare bursts (especially mid to late Thursday afternoon) up to 48 mph.  One thing they all agree about is that the storm will be gone by Friday and Friday will be sunny.  By the way, we're also expecting some cooler temperatures--at last!  The high Thursday will be in the mid to upper 70s and almost the same on Friday, but morning low temps will dip to about 50° Friday morning and by Saturday morning we may see some in the upper 40s.  If you think it has been unusually hot for this time of the year, you're right--but last year on October 11th, it was 87°!  By October 30th last year, the morning low had dipped to 31°--our first sub-freezing temp last Fall. That 87° last year was the record high for October 11th.  The record low was 28° in 2000.  Thursday's rainfall will set a new record for Oct. 11th--the old record was 1.6 inches on Oct. 11, 1990. [Source: NC State University NC Climate Office] A Flash Flood Warning was issued for our area late Thursday morning, but we were unable to find any roads that had been flooded to the point of being impassable.

While the storm isn't likely to cause major damage in our area, isolated problems may occur.  Given the amount of rain we're expecting, flooding isn't as much a concern as some would seem to believe.  Our most likely problem will be downed trees or limbs and the possiblity of power outages caused by them.  We had one report of a tree falling on a home early Thursday morning; and while we mostly dodged the serious effects of Hurricane Florence, there was one fatality--an infant killed when a tree fell on a mobile home between Dallas and Stanley.  Be careful while driving; not only is there the danger from possible downed trees or limbs, but the rain is producing puddles even on major highways that can create hydroplaning.  

As previously noted, all athletic events for the Lincoln County Schools have been cancelled for Thursday.  The Lincolnton at West Lincoln and Bandys at East Lincoln JV football games that were scheduled for 7 PM Thursday have been rescheduled for Monday (Oct. 15th) at 7 PM.  North Lincoln's JVs were also scheduled to play the Maiden JVs at 7 PM Thursday at NLHS--we had not received a new date for that game as of Thursday morning.  The North Lincoln at East Lincoln soccer match was rescheduled for Monday October 29th. The Lincolnton at Bandys soccer match was rescheduled for next Thursday (Oct. 18th).  The South Fork Conference tennis tournament matches that had been scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday have been rescheduled for Friday and Monday at Maiden.  

The Head Start programs in Lincoln & Gaston counties will not operate Thursday.

Long Shoals Wesleyan Academy will not operate Thursday.

Unity Preschool (Denver) will be closed Thursday.

Denver Baptist Preschool will be closed Thursday.

Gaston College will close at noon Thursday; there will be no evening classes.

UNC-Charlotte has cancelled classes for Thursday.

Should any other cancellations or postponements be reported to us, we'll post them as they are received. 

With the weather clearing, there would appear to be no reason for any Friday events to be changed. 

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