Drivers abandoned cars in rushing water. Creeks reached record-breaking heights. Businesses evacuated. All due to historic flash flooding on Thursday.
The big picture: Charlotte was prepared for a rainy week, but nothing to this degree.
- All the creeks you travel over daily — Mallard and Stewart, Little Sugar Creek and Irwin — spilled over their banks and into the streets and roadways. Little Sugar Creek crested at a record 15 feet near Kings Drive, passing the marker set by Hurricane Danny in 1997.
- 143 students and staff members were evacuated from Corvian Community School, a charter school near Mallard Creek.
- First responders rescued at least 35 additional people throughout the county, including 13 from the 9600 block of McDaniel Lane near Charlotte Hills Mobile Home Park.
- The Batch House bakery on Bryant Street flooded early Thursday, forcing owner Cristina Rojas-Agurcia to close for a few days and likely longer. Other businesses on that street, Uptown Catering Company and LaCa Projects, also had water halfway up their buildings.
- 63 roads were blocked due to flooding, as of 11 a.m. Thursday, including parts of I-85. Most have now reopened.
- Eight people died in North Carolina. Five people died after severe floods at the Hiddenite Family Campground about an hour north of Charlotte. Three others died in car accidents caused by the flood.
It all happened fast. Along Irwin Creek near Pinky’s, eyewitnesses said in less than 30 minutes, a car that was stuck in water at tire level became fully submerged, with brown water over the rooftops.
And it receded fast, too. The rain stopped around 1 p.m. on Thursday, and water levels continued to subside throughout the day. Recovery will take more time, though. The flash flood warning lifted in Mecklenburg County at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Be safe. Drivers should still use caution and remember to “turn around, don’t drown.”
How to support businesses and individuals hurt by the flood:
Hiddenite Family Campground, about an hour north of Charlotte, was hit hard during the flooding. Five people died when water engulfed the area. Marco LaVecchia is one of the 33 people who were rescued and lost everything they own. The 25-year-old saved two human lives and three pets during the flood. Now he’s in need of basic supplies like clothing and toiletries. Friends and family have set up a GoFundMe page for him here.
Corvian Community School experienced damage to its building and to all cars that were in the lot when the flood waters hit. You can donate directly to the charter school here. A few parents also started a GoFundMe page.
The Batch House, a Wesley Heights bakery, is still evaluating the extent of water damage to the space, but it doesn’t look good. “With a heavy heart, our beloved batchhouse is underwater,” owner Cristina Rojas-Agurcia posted on Instagram that day. When she evacuated, water was already up to her thigh. Staff members of the bakery later encouraged people to donate via Venmo at @thebatchhouseteam.
Nearby coffee shop Enderly Coffee is donating half of their revenue on Saturday to The Batch House’s Venmo, so if you want another way to support, go buy coffee.
Help for the homeless: Just north of the city, in an area sometimes called “tent city,” our homeless neighbors were huddled inside drenched tents. We reached out to a few local organizations who were calling for donations:
- Revamp said they have a need for blankets and tents. You can message via Facebook or Instagram to contribute.
- Block Love CLT has a list of needed items on their website.
- Salvation Army always has a need for blankets and other supplies.
[Related Agenda story: 10 days in tent city with the ‘new faces’ of homelessness in Charlotte]
Party Time Rentals on Freedom Drive also had to evacuate on Thursday. They told the Agenda they aren’t sure how folks can help financially, but give them a follow on social media and stay in touch. The events company has already gone through a rough 2020. Even just a nice message would help.
LaCa Projects, an art gallery concreted on Latinx artists, shares a building with The Batch House so it, too, was badly damaged. “We are heartbroken to see so many years of hard work destroyed in an instant,” the gallery wrote on Instagram. No word on how to specifically support, but follow them on Instagram to stay in touch. And, of course, once they’re able to reopen visit the gallery.
Jeff Cravotta Photography loss nearly everything in his studio — about 40 years of equipment and images. A friend wrote into the Agenda in support of Jeff and said this: “Jeff is a kind hearted family man and next to his commercial photography services/work, he has been a generous force in our community helping nonprofits with his photography services across the city since the 80s.” Jeff’s biggest need right now is finding a temporary space so he can continue his work. If you have something available, reach out at 704-372-3800.
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Paige Hopkins and Michael Graff contributed to this reporting.