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Rain and Floods

Heavy Rainfall and Floods in Mecklenburg County Before 1878

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The entire list is available in chronological order and by day of the month, to make anniversaries easier to discover.



  • January, 1825, Flood after Flood - The Catawba Journal (February 01, 1825) reported “the season thus far has been uncommonly wet – we have had floods upon floods, until the roads have become almost impassable.”
  • August 14, 1837, Six Foot Rise in River - The Charlotte Journal (August 18, 1837) reported “one of the severest storms of rains of which we have any recollection.” The Catawba river rose rapidly about six feet. “A great quantity of rain” had also fallen over the previous ten days, inundating low-lying fields.
  • May-August, 1840, River Highest in 50 years – Brevard Davidson recorded in his diary numerous rainy days that hindered his plantings and damaged his crops on his farm in North Mecklenburg County. On May 28 he wrote that the river was said to be the highest in 50 years. He stated it was 32 inches over common water. He remembered the river 21 inches over in 1824 and 26 inches over in 1814. On June 1 he recorded losing 35 acres of crop to the creek and river. On June 3, 4 and 6 he recorded more rain and that he had not plowed in over three weeks due to the rain. May 17, he wrote that the creek is over his corn every day or two as a result of more rainy days. On June 26 he wrote that there was very wet weather and the ground was washed as much as he had ever seen it. He recorded more rainy days in July and August. (Williams, Ann. The Rural Hill Farm Journals of Adam Brevard Davidson 1834-1856. Antebellum Books, 2017)The Charlotte Journal (June 4, 1840) reported that almost constant rains for nearly two weeks caused the water-courses to be unusually swollen and the Catawba River higher than ever known.
  • November 3, 1846, Catawba River 23 Feet above Common Water – Brevard Davidson wrote in his diary that the river was about 23 feet past common water which was the highest since 1840. (Williams, Ann. The Rural Hill Farm Journals of Adam Brevard Davidson 1834-1856. Antebellum Books, 2017)
  • August 16-21, 1848, Heavy Rains – Brevard Davidson wrote in his diary about heavy rains almost every day from August 16 to August 21 and that on the 21st the river was 12 to 14 feet above normal. (Williams, Ann. The Rural Hill Farm Journals of Adam Brevard Davidson 1834-1856. Antebellum Books, 2017)
  • August 20, 1848, Heavy Rains and Tornado - A tornado 40 yards wide and heavy rains swept across parts of the county causing damage to trees, crops, fences and roofs. The Charlotte Journal (August 23, 1848)
  • August 27-28, 1852 River Highest since 1840 – Brevard Davidson wrote in his diary that there was heavy rains on August 27 and on August 28. He recorded that the river was about 28.5 feet high which was the highest since 1840. (Williams, Ann. The Rural Hill Farm Journals of Adam Brevard Davidson 1834-1856. Antebellum Books, 2017).
  • August 24, 1850, Tremendous Wind and Rain Storm – The Charlotte Journal (August 28, 1850) reported a severe storm of wind and rain in some areas. "The Catawba River and nearly every creek was swollen to a tremendous height. . . . The whole expanse of water was covered with rafts of floating timber wartermelons &c. The river was about 10 feet above normal."
  • February 24, 1854, Heaviest Rain in 20 Years The Western Democrat (March 3, 1854) reported on "one of the heaviest falls of water we have had in twenty years." It began raining at 8 PM Saturday and "poured in torrents until after daylight Sunday morning." The Catawba River was higher than it was in 1840.
  • July 1, 1856, Wind, Hail and Rain Storm – A wind, hail and rainstorm passed over parts of the western part of the county and did much damage to crops. Western Democrat (July 08, 1856)
  • March 4-10, 1867, Heavy Rain Damages Bridge over River – The Western Democrat (March 12, 1854) reported that the Railroad Bridge over the Catawba River was damaged so that trains could not use it due to very heavy rains over the past week.
  • February, 1873, Heaviest Rains in many Years The Charlotte Democrat (February 25, 1873) reported heavy rains within the past three weeks was the heaviest rains known for many years.
  • May 6-10, 1873, Three Days of Heavy Rain – According to The Charlotte Democrat (May 13, 1873) it rained for three days steadily and heavily. The rivers and creeks were the highest in 25 years. There was considerable damage done along the Catawba River.
  • March and April,1875, Widespread Damage from Floods – According to The Charlotte Observer (March 3, 5 and 23, 1875) and The Southern Home (March 15 and 22 and April 5, 1875) this area and the rest of North Carolina experienced flooding that was the worst in 10 years except for the 1873 flood. The farmers that could make it to the city told of the damage done to their fields, most of the mills along rivers in Buncombe County were washed away, a farmer in Clarendon lost 500 hogs, factories and mill in Randolph County were heavily damaged and the Pee Dee River was said to be the highest in 85 years and with the most destruction.
  • May 1, 1875, Heavy Wind and Rain The Charlotte Democrat (May 03, 1875) Reported a heavy wind and rain storm blew down a few houses, trees and fences. The storm was more severe in Cabarrus County.
  • June 12-17, 1876, Catawba River Highest in at Least 100 Years – Local newspapers reported the damage from this flood for over a month as reports of the damage came in. The Catawba River was two feet higher than the highest water mark that could be traced back 100 years according to a local resident. Two mills in Mecklenburg County were washed away. Crops were heavily damaged. The Charlotte Observer (June 21, 1876). The bridge at Powell’s Factory on the Catawba in Iredell was washed away and crops were washed away. The Charlotte Observer (June 22, 1876). "The road from Asheville to Warm Springs was literally destroyed." The Charlotte Democrat (July 17, 1876). Half of the town of Marshall was reported washed away. The Sun (July 4, 1876). "Two spans of the elegant new bridge at Haw River were washed away. " The Charlotte Observer (July 1, 1876).