Recent Tropical Systems in Western North Carolina
For new residents of the Asheville area, you may not remember the storms that left their marks on the Southern Appalachians. Some relatively recent storms that left impressions on western North Carolinians include:
- Hurricane Hugo – 1989
- Hurricanes Fran -- 1996
- Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd – 1999
- Hurricane Frances – 2004
- Hurricanes/Superstorm Sandy – 2012
- Hurricane Matthew – 2016
- Hurricanes Florence and Michael – 2018
Of course, these systems were no longer classified as hurricanes by the time they reached our area; however, they still packed a punch. Our diverse terrain can enhance wind speeds and rainfall rates for storms that have weakened so that the effects felt are similar to coastal areas.
Potential Impacts Associated with Tropical Systems
Weakening hurricanes and tropical storms will not bring storm surge and whip winds high enough to rip sturdy roofs off of buildings. The effects felt in our area are more consistent with our inland neighbors, with a few unique exceptions. If a storm is approaching our area, potential impacts include:
- Lengthy power outages
- Structural damage from wind
- Downed trees and large tree limbs
- Urban flash flooding
- River and creek flooding
- Basement and crawlspace water damage
- Driveway and secondary road bridges damaged by rising waters
- Landscape water and wind damage
- Landslides and mudslides
- Standing water and drainage issues
- Erosion and sinkholes
Damage may vary significantly in a relatively short distance throughout western North Carolina. Entire neighborhoods may be cut off for periods of time from downed trees or washed out roads. Damage can be widespread, and cleanup can be time-consuming.
How to Prepare for Tropical Systems
The best defense against tropical storm damage may be a good offense. If Asheville is in the path of tropical weather, make sure you are prepared.
- Documents: Make sure you have your homeowner’s insurance and other key documents.
- Weather Awareness: Know what conditions are expected and when to anticipate impacts. Media coverage may wane as systems impact the coast and move inland, so follow local meteorologists such as Jason Boyer and Brad Panovich on television and social media. Conditions could last for several days but change rapidly from moment to moment in the mountains.
- Weather Radio: Have a battery-powered weather radio available for alerts. Flash floods can occur quickly in the mountains.
- Emergency Kit: Prepare an emergency kit with flashlights, batteries, first aid, and something to entertain your kids if the power does go out.
- Landscaping: Your landscaping should be properly maintained. Previous storm damage should already be cleared prior to approaching systems.
- Outdoor Living Spaces: Before the storm, secure outdoor furniture and anything that could be blown or washed away in your outdoor living spaces.
- Install Retaining Walls: Have erosion and drainage controls in place. Stone and boulder retaining walls provide a nice aesthetic and help prevent storm damage.
Storm Cleanup in Asheville and Hendersonville
Once the storms pass, flooding and wind damage may leave your yard and landscaping a mess. Standing water can become a breeding ground for pests like mosquitos and increase the possibility of additional flooding. The cleanup process may seem daunting and risky. The storm may have damaged sensitive plants that you are not comfortable removing or unsure whether they are still alive.
Whether it’s a tropical system, gusty thunderstorm, or ice storm that leaves behind a mess of debris and drainage concerns, Garrett’s Landscape is here to help. In addition to avoiding the hassle of cleaning up in the heat and humidity that often follows tropical systems, we can help make sure the cleanup process does not damage sensitive plants and make necessary repairs to landscaping. When the storm hits, contact Garrett’s Landscape for professional storm cleanup services in Asheville and Hendersonville, NC.