The Flood of 1916 in North Carolina

Mecklenburg County was one of the most heavily damaged areas of North Carolina from the unprecedented flood which swept western North Carolina July 14, 15, and 16, 1916. Rainfall at Charlotte which began on Thursday, July 13, increased to storm proportions on Friday the 14th. High winds Friday night did much damage and on Saturday morning, the 15th, the city looked "like a cyclone had struck it."
Charlotte, with a precipitation of only five inches in the 24-hour period, came off lightly compared with other sections of the state. The storm was centered in the vicinity of Asheville where rainfall exceeded all past records and the damage was tremendous. At nearby Altapass the maximum rainfall of 22.22 inches was the highest 24-hour precipitation ever recorded in the United States. The Catawba River, rising in Western North Carolina, was the chief outlet for this deluge. As a result the principal damage in Mecklenburg County was confined to the Catawba River, where all bridges of the river were destroyed as was much adjacent property. Total overall property damage of the flood was estimated at $21,724,085. Best estimates place the loss of life at about 80. Details of this catastrophe are contained in three books: Bell, W. M., The North Carolina Flood; Southern Railway, The Floods of July 1916; and Greene, Ivery C., A Disasterous Flood.

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