While Carroll County did receive heavy rain and high winds Saturday and Sunday, the area was spared any major damage from the remnants of Hurricane Florence.
A large portion of North Carolina and parts of South Carolina were devastated by Hurricane Florence, especially on the coast. Major flooding inland was also catastrophic for parts of North Carolina and power outages will continue to hinder the Tar Heel State for some time. And while Grayson County and the City of Galax did suffer some flooding, the damage was minimal in Carroll County except for a few downed trees and some minor flooding.
Carroll County had an Emergency Operations Center in place to handle any potential emergency scenarios and the Grover King VFW Post 1115 in Hillsville was originally set up as a shelter before it was moved to Hillsville Pentecostal Holiness Church. Other churches in the area were set up as shelters, too, but thankfully none were really needed.
“When you see the misfortune of our neighbors to the south in North Carolina… I mean we were looking at a real catastrophe in Carroll (at one point) with 30-inches of rain forecast and massive power outages,” Carroll County Administrator Steve Truitt said. “I was pleased at the job our emergency services did. All the people that had to get together, the cooperation was excellent. We were ready for the worst and grateful it didn’t happen.”
With the remnants of Hurricane Florence arriving in Southwest Virginia on Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service put Carroll County and surrounding areas on alert for potential flooding, high winds and power outages. The National Weather Service in Blacksburg issued a Flash Flood Warning that remained in effect until 9:30 a.m. Monday morning for Carroll County and other surrounding counties in Southwest Virginia and Northwest North Carolina.
There were some reports of damage in Carroll County from the storm, which brought heavy rain and gusty wind to the area. Readers Ronnie G. Collins and Phyllis Bryant took photographs of separate downed trees Sunday evening on Lambsburg Mountain in the southern portion of the county. A tree also fell on a car on Paul’s Creek Road in Cana, but the driver was uninjured thankfully.
Carroll County was also in a wind advisory Sunday and the National Weather Service also warned of the isolated risk for “quick spin-ups of tornadoes into (Sunday) night.” Projected wind gusts of 35 to 45 miles per hour combined with wet soils increase the potential of downed trees and power outages. All things considered, Carroll County was extremely fortunate.
“We were blessed far more than we deserved. We didn’t have a tremendous amount of trees fall and not that much flooding compared to others around us,” Carroll County Sheriff J.B. Gardner said. “We were prepared and ready and it just didn’t happen. We were blessed.”
Gardner said local agencies even had extra help at the ready. While not there when the decision was made to move the shelter from the VFW to the Hillsville Pentecostal Holiness Church, he has seen that area fill up quickly with water in the past and this could have played into the decision to move. There were no swift water rescues.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN