CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. -- Caldwell County declared a state of emergency as crews spent the day clearing downed trees and mudslides from the county's roads.
Several roads across northern Caldwell County were closed from Friday night until Saturday afternoon as crews did their work. Hwy. 90, a main artery from Lenoir to Collettsville, was one of the worst hit.
"The biggest damage today is to get the roads open," said Mike Cook, the western director of NC Emergency Management. "DOT has done magnificent job and the Forest Service trucks, clearing mud."
Many private homes had driveways and culverts damaged by swift moving creeks, said Cook, and some homes had flooding. Crews would try to help those families with temporary bridges Sunday.
Resident Andy Oliver lives along Hwy. 90 -- also called Collettsville Road -- and was at a baseball tournament a mile away when the storm hit.
"It took us about 3 hours to get one mile to the house," said Oliver.
Oliver said he had to drive down to Morganton and up around back roads, as state troopers put up roadblock after roadblock along his path home.
"We had water coming up on the hood of the vehicle, when we were going through the creeks and you couldn't see it," said Oliver, who cut his way through some of the roads with a chainsaw he keeps in the back of his truck. "There were trees down, power lines down."
About 1500 homes had no power at the peak of damage after the storm, said Caldwell County Public Information Officer LouAnn Kincaid. Blue Ridge electric crews worked throughout the day and most of the homes had electricity by 5 o'clock Saturday afternoon.
The National Weather Service said a microburst was to blame for the damage across the 4-mile area from Franklin Place to Abington Road.
Further south, a flooded creek pushed Elizabeth and Scott Lingle's house northwest of Gamewell off its foundation.
The house sat at an angle as water filled the foundation walls like a swimming pool.
"I would never have believed it until I got here today and seen it," said Elizabeth Lingle's friend, Misty Matheson.
"They were in the house when all of this went down," she said, "and all of this moved and shifted and they were stuck inside with nobody to come get them."
A family member eventually rescued the Lingles with a ladder. Their dogs, Coco and Smoky -- who had been chained in the yard -- managed to slip out of their collars and swim to safety too.
The dogs sat close to Elizabeth as she watched friends salvage what was left inside her house and load it into a truck.
She said she doesn't have flood insurance, and doesn't know what she'll do next. She won't rebuild on the property at Fletcher Chapel Church Road, where he destroyed home now sits.
Matheson said their friends will do the best they can to help.
"They lost almost everything," she lamented. "It's scary. I can't imagine being in their shoes right now."