The National Weather Service says South Fork Catawba River crested at 17.3 feet in Gaston County at 4:45 a.m. Monday. At more than seven feet above flood stage, that level has been surpassed only once in recorded history. The river crested at 21.3 feet in August 1940.
Meteorologist Jake Wimberley said water levels are dropping but are expected to remain above flood stage into Tuesday.
Despite piling sandbags outside their station Sunday night, Camerton firefighters were forced to evacuate about 3 a.m. Monday, wading through knee-deep water.
Parts of Catawba, Lincoln and Cleveland received up to a foot of rain Saturday as a result of a slow-moving rain system.
The resulting flash floods were blamed for two deaths in Caldwell County, nearly 100 miles north of Charlotte. Authorities say a 10-year-old girl and 48-year-old man were swept away Saturday evening while swimming in a usually calm section of rural Wilson Creek.
The high water moving down South Fork Catawba River caused major flooding in Lincoln County on Sunday, when the water reached about 12 feet above flood stage near Long Shoals. Authorities rescued two men late Sunday after their boat overturned near Betty Ross Park in Lincolnton.
Teams continued Monday to assess the damage in Catawba County, where scores of roads were underwater Saturday afternoon.
So far, they've found at least 11 homes and seven businesses with major damage. More than two dozen roads are closed or impassable due to standing water or flood damage. Several neighborhoods remained inaccessible, county officials said.
There were no reported injuries from the flash flooding, Dickerson said.
Interstate 85 was closed for a short time Saturday afternoon in Cabarrus County because of high water, the State Highway Patrol said.
The Charlotte Observer writes: "The good news is that meteorologists expect dry weather for the next two days, allowing crews to clean some of the mess left by rainfall that exceeded 12 inches in some places. Another round of showers and thunderstorms is forecast Wednesday and Thursday, however."
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/07/29/4198074/flood-waters-crest-in-cramerton.html#storylink=cpy
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.