Roads washed out, basements flooded in many area homes
By Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE – Remnants of Tropical Storm Alberto have caused serious problems for western North Carolina this week. Record rainfall over the past three weeks, coupled with flooding on Tuesday evening, has impacted many communities, including Montreat.
Montreat Conference Center staff say the Robert Lake Park on campus sustained significant damage. Rising water from Flat Creek washed away footbridges and picnic tables and eroded paths and play areas. The Montreat campground and some additional conference center facilities also suffered damage.
Richard DuBose, conference center president, says the park is closed for the foreseeable future. Preliminary repair estimates are $80,000 to $100,000. DuBose says the conference center has already begun raising money for repairs.
The saturated ground has forced water into many basements in the small mountain community and several roads have sustained damage.
“Week one of Youth Conference starts this Sunday and we’ll be ready,” said DuBose. “The park’s situation is unfortunate, but we’re putting a plan in place to fund and fix it. We are as excited as ever to welcome thousands of conferees and cottagers over the coming weeks.”
Other residents describe rising water in the Broad and Swannanoa Rivers in nearby Asheville as well as flooding in the popular Biltmore Village.
State officials say a portion of Interstate 40 was closed in McDowell County because of a mudslide, trapping cars. There was concern that Lake Tahoma Dam might be compromised because of heavy rainfall and mud. Residents were evacuated, but were eventually allowed to return to their homes.
The National Weather Service says this week’s rain, along with additional precipitation in recent weeks, makes May 2018 the wettest month on record with more than 14 inches, shattering a record dating to August 1940. Weather officials have hopes of drier weather this weekend.
“PDA has reached out to church leaders in the area and will respond accordingly as needed,” said the Rev. Jim Kirk, PDA’s associate for national disaster response. “This is another example of climate change, in that we are seeing record rainfalls and strong storms that haven’t happened before.
More information about the current state of the park and how to give to this project can be found at www.montreat.org/robert-lake-park.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is able to respond quickly to emergencies because of gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing and designated giving. To support PDA’s response to flooding in the U.S., designate gifts to DR000191.
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