(Monday 5 p.m) The National Park Service says portions of the Blue Ridge Parkway are now open. Click here for the latest. The entire Parkway and most of its facilities, visitor centers and campgrounds, were shutdown on Friday in anticipation of storm damage from Florence. A stretch of the road to the south and east of Asheville - from the Tanbark Ridge Overlook to the French Broad Overlook - is now open, as well as the far western end of the Parkway from the Pisgah Inn to its terminus in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The U.S. Forest Service on Monday said all roads and recreation facilities in the Nantahala National Forest were scheduled to re-open on Tuesday, while nearly all similar sites in the Pisgah National Forest would do the same on Wednesday.
(Monday 12:00 p.m.) A flash flood watch is no longer in effect for the BPR listening area, as damage appears to be minimal throughout Western North Carolina after Florence blanketed the area with rain Sunday as a tropical depression.
Expected flooding of the Swannanoa River in Biltmore Village did not occur, as the river only crested at 7.68 feet at 7:15 last night. It's flood stage is 10 feet, and the U.S. Geological Survey was predicting the river would crest at 12 feet early Monday. In Black Mountain along Flat Creek flooding caused the evacuation of three mobile home parks Sunday afternoon with a shelter set up nearby at the Swannanoa First Baptist Church. The shelter in McDowell County at the YMCA in Marion was closed late Sunday evening.
The majority of road closures in the region this morning were in Yancey County, but many have been cleared according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The lone closure still active as of noon Monday is on Whittington Road near US 19 near Burnsville. The road there is closed in both directions.
(Sunday 10:15 p.m.) A flash flood watch remains in effect through Monday evening for Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, Yancey, and eastern Polk and McDowell Counties as the final remnants of Florence pass through Western North Carolina.
Minor flooding overnight remains possible among streams and rivers, but it appears the region avoided widespread damage from the storm. There are several road closures in rural parts of Yancey County, and two roads closed in Transylvania County due to flooding. To get the latest road closures from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, head here.
(Sunday 5:30 p.m.) As a flash flood warning expired late Sunday evening for parts of Buncombe, Henderson, and Polk Counties, Buncombe County opened its first emergency shelter. It’s at the Swannanoa First Baptist Church, and that opening comes in response to voluntary evacuations at three mobile home parks in Black Mountain. Information from the U.S. Geological Survey shows the Swannanoa River will crest above flood stage in the coming hours and cause minor flooding overnight. At the USGS monitoring point in Biltmore Village, the Swannanoa is expected to crest at 12 feet overnight, which is two feet above flood stage. That would cause minor flooding in that area before the river recedes back beneath flood stage by noon tomorrow. To put the 12 foot number in perspective, the river was at just over 14 feet in late May of this year when Biltmore Village flooded, doing minor damage to several businesses. When the area saw its worst flooding in 2004, the river was at over 18 feet.
Two other emergency shelters are open in Western North Carolina Sunday evening. The first is at the YMCA in Marion, while the other is at the Polk County Middle School in Mill Spring. There are no widespread mandatory evacuation orders at this time in the BPR listening area.
Duke Energy is reporting just under 23-hundred outages in Buncombe County at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. No other county in the BPR listening area is above 600. Asheville City and Buncombe and Henderson County schools have all announced they will operate on a 2-hour delay Monday morning.
(Sunday 1 p.m.) A flash flood warning is in effect until 5:15 p.m. for parts of Western North Carolina as rainfall from Tropical Depression Florence picks up in the region.
The official alert from the National Weather Service -
The National Weather Service in Greenville-Spartanburg has issued a Flash Flood Warning for Southwestern McDowell County, Northwestern Rutherford County, Eastern Henderson County in western North Carolina, Western Polk County in western North Carolina, and Eastern Buncombe County in western North Carolina until 515 PM EDT.
* At 1213 PM EDT, Doppler radar and automated rain gauges indicated that locally as much as 3 or 4 inches of rain has fallen today across the warned area. As periods of occasionally heavy tropical rainfall redevelops across the eastern slopes this afternoon, developing areas of high water and flooded streams are expected. * Some locations that will experience flooding include - Black Mountain, Swannanoa, Tryon, Lake Lure, Old Fort, Saluda, Chimney Rock Village, Chimney Rock State Park, Bat Cave and B.R. Parkway-Craggy To Little Switzerland.