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Flooding in North Carolina foothills covers buildings, cars

The Charlotte area saw historic rainfall that caused flash flooding, widespread power outages and damaged property.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A line of strong storms brought record rainfall, flash flooding and widespread power outages to the Charlotte, North Carolina region Thursday as the Carolinas dealt with a second day of torrential downpours.

Multiple emergency crews in several counties responded to swift-water rescues, including Iredell and Alexander counties. In Alexander County, more than a dozen first responders were called to the Hiddenite Family Campground, where dozens of campers were trapped by rising waters. First Warn meteorologist Chris Mulcahy reported more than 30 people were rescued as multiple homes were evacuated due to floodwaters. Four people have died as a result of the strong storms, according to Alexander County officials.

A Flash Flood Warning is in effect until 6 p.m. in parts of Cabarrus, Gaston, Mecklenburg and York counties. Areas impacted include Rock Hill, uptown Charlotte, Huntersville, Davidson, Mint Hill, Cornelius, western Concord, Fort Mill, Matthews, Tega Cay and Clover. 

A Flash Flood Warning means that flooding is imminent or occurring.
If you are in the warned area move to higher ground immediately.

A Flood Watch is in effect until 7 p.m. for most of the WCNC Charlotte viewing area, including Alexander, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Burke, Rutherford, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan and Union counties in North Carolina. In South Carolina, York and Chester counties are under a Flood Watch until 7 p.m.

RELATED: Dozens rescued from rising flood waters at Alexander County campground

Chief meteorologist Brad Panovich reported Charlotte already set a single-day rainfall record for 2020 with 4.25" at the airport. The previous high was on February 6, when Charlotte recorded 3.16".  Panovich tweeted that the Little Sugar Creek also set a record high Thursday, breaking the mark set back in 1997. Thursday's rainfall set a new record for Nov. 12, was the wettest day in November on record and was the 13th most rainfall in a single day in Charlotte since 1978.

In Catawba County, the South Yadkin River overflowed its banks, pouring water into fields and flooding Highway 16. Traffic was shut down for hours while the floodwaters rushed over the road. Multiple buildings and cars were flooded during this time, as well. 

Catawba County officials declared a State of Emergency due to extensive flooding, power outages and road closures. The hazardous conditions were widespread in the foothills, where schools were put on a delay or switched to remote learning. Duke Energy estimated nearly 2,500 people were without power in Catawba County due to the storms. Nearly 400 people lost electricity in Alexander County.

Download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app for the latest severe weather warnings and alerts in your area

RELATED: How to report a power outage

Heavy flooding was also reported in Burke County where officials issued a State of Emergency as well. Flooding made several roads impassable.  In Bethel Park, water covered the ground and began rising in areas. School officials moved students to a remote learning day due to flooding concerns.

Panovich said Hunting Creek in Morganton hit a new record high with the water level still rising.

In Iredell County, fire crews responded to a washed-out bridge on Cattlemans Road.  Fire officials said a vehicle got trapped on the bridge. Everyone got out OK, but the vehicle was trapped in floodwaters. Numerous roads were totally washed out in the county during the storms. 

In Cornelius, the police department had to close Bailey Road between Poole Place Drive and Delmas Drive due to flooding. 

Huntersville Police tweeted they had to close at least one lane of Same Furr Road between Northcross Drive and Lindholm Drive, near the Birkdale Shopping Center.  A westbound lane was closed but officials also said they were preparing to close the road completely if flooding continued. 

Major flooding was also reported along Interstate 85 in the Charlotte area.  Emergency crews were called to I-85 northbound at Little Rock Road for flooding in the roadway.  At least 4 out of 5 lanes of the interstate were closed due to flooding for some time Thursday morning. 

RELATED: Reported water rescue at Alexander County campground, schools on delay as heavy rain moves across Carolinas