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N.C. Floods Cause Evacuations, Traffic Accidents

August 13, 1996

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ Two hikers were missing today after flooding that forced the evacuation of a nursing home and a campground and closed roads.

Storms dumped between 4 1/2 and 7 inches of rain throughout North Carolina from Sunday night through Monday afternoon, meteorologists reported.

The rain also caused minor flooding in northeastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia, said National Weather Service meteorologist Gerald Miles. Virginia’s Carroll County recorded 7.3 inches.

``We’re getting it from all sides. Rain is blowing in from the Gulf and the Atlantic,″ said Jeff Zoltowski at the weather service in Greer, S.C. ``It’s a very unusual situation for this time of year.″

Teams assisted by dogs and helicopters resumed a search this morning for two hikers believed trapped by rising water in Linville Gorge in Burke County.

Owen Cauley, 19, and Elizabeth Baker, 18, both of Charlotte, had been expected to finish their weekend hike along the Linville River on Sunday. They were reported missing when they did not return Monday, said Jon Berry, a spokesman for the Burke County emergency operations center.

``We do have a known trail route that they were supposed to have followed and it crosses that river twice,″ Berry said.

The search had to be curtailed Monday because the rain made trails ``very, very hazardous,″ Berry said.

Flooded roads led authorities to evacuate the Glenstone Nursing Home in Boone and about 100 people from a campground in Burke County.

In Caldwell County, some residents were evacuated from their homes but others were trapped when rising streams cut them off from roads.

The weather also contributed to several traffic accidents. In Wilkes County, a bus carrying 10 elementary school students skidded into a ditch but no one was hurt.

Other areas reported minor power outages and rock slides.

School officials in three counties also sent students home early on their first day of classes Monday, officials said.

Flash flood watches were canceled early today. Light rain was expected to continue over most of North Carolina tonight and early Wednesday as the storm system moved up the East Coast. Philadelphia had collected 2.95 inches of rain by this morning.

Update hourly