After dangerous flooding, Polk residents recover from damage to homes, cars, roads

Green River Cove Road in the Saluda area. Photo: WLOS

Cleanup efforts continue in Polk County after severe weather caused flooding and mudslides over the weekend.

We visited Highway 176, where a stretch remains closed.

County emergency officials say more than two dozen homes near Highway 176 have moderate to major damage.

We saw significant damage to homes, vehicles and roads in the Saluda area on Green River Cove Road.

“It was just watching a slow motion train wreck,” said one eyewitness.

Mel Collins describes what he saw in the area after returning from a camping trip.

“The suv flipped over on its side, the lights came on. Headlights, taillights, the neighbors were convinced we were trapped inside, so they called 911.”

Luckily he and his wife were safe inside their home. A neighbor just down the road wasn't so lucky--a mudslide knocked the home off its foundation.

“There was not much rain during the day Friday and then darkness fell, and we went from an inch and a half of rain to over 8 inches in just the matter of a couple of hours,” Collins said.

It was enough to wash away part of Green River Cove Road.

On Highway 176, crews continue working around the clock, clearing mud and debris from the roadway.

Polk County Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge says that as of Monday noon, crews have hauled out roughly 1500 tons of debris.

The road remains closed for about a mile as officials assess the damage left behind.

“Flood(water), mud in the residence. We found one residence that they had dug out a lot but they still had four foot of mud in their house,” Arledge said of the destruction.

A woman lost her life in a mudslide Friday, and residents say that quickly puts the severe weather situation into perspective.

“It’s relative. We’re all safe," one resident said. "It’s stuff. Stuff can be rebuilt, replaced, and we’re just so thankful there was not any greater loss of life or injuries during this event.”

The county’s emergency services director says he is meeting with the National Weather Service Monday to plan for the week as they monitor the forecast.

As damage assessment continues, North Carolina’s Insurance Commissioner has announced he will be on site in Polk County tomorrow as well.

The American Red Cross says that flood-related resources are support are available. Cleanup supplies, bottled water, hot meals, medication replacement, and other support will be available from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday at the following locations:

  • Harmon Field, 117 Harmon Field Road, Tryon, NC 28782
  • Tryon Youth Center, 2969 US-176, Tryon, NC 28782

For further assistance or questions, call the Red Cross at 828-333-9017.

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