Polk spared from Florence’s wrath

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hurricane only brings rain, light winds to area

POLK COUNTY — With more than 30 inches of rain dumped on the eastern coast, 32 deaths in North and South Carolina as of Tuesday, and severe flooding in surrounding counties, Polk County officials breathed a sigh of relief Monday morning, as Hurricane Florence spared local residents any tragedies over the weekend.

The fear was flooding and possible mudslides, as the area was expected to receive downpours and up to 10 inches or more of rain over two days.

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The town of Tryon did have some downed trees to clear a few roads, including one on Highway 108 between McFarland Funeral Chapel and Harmon Field Road Sunday night, but only debris remained Monday morning.

According to the National Weather Service, Tryon received 1.34 inches of rain on Saturday, and another 2.68 inches on Sunday, for a total of just 4.2 inches of rain during the event, which was downgraded to a tropical depression as it came over the Foothills over the weekend. Winds were fairly minimal as well over the past several days.

The Tryon International Equestrian Center canceled events on Sunday, but held them on Monday, despite some minor high water at the facility over the weekend.

Polk County Manager Marche Pittman said three people stayed at the county’s shelter, located at the middle school in Mill Spring over the weekend.

The county closed the shelter at 11 a.m. Monday.

The county did have some power outages over the weekend, with Pittman estimating several hundred were without power for short amounts of time.

“We did have trees down, and some rivers and creeks flooded, but not anything like we anticipated,” Pittman said on Monday. “I don’t believe we had any roads shut down.”

The North Carolina Department of Transportation reported 700 road closures throughout the state on Sunday afternoon.

“Overall, we fared well during the storm,” Pittman said. “The really bad weather stayed to our north, and we received slow, steady rain. I don’t think we should let our guard down in future rain events. All of our public safety workers did a great job of planning and working to insure there were minimal impacts on our citizens.”