NCDOT: I-26 reopened in WNC after flooding, mudslides; State of - FOX Carolina 21

NCDOT: I-26 reopened in WNC after flooding, mudslides; State of Emergency declared in Polk Co.

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Traffic backed up after I-26 closed due to flooding in WNC, with detours in place. (FOX Carolina/ 5/18/18) Traffic backed up after I-26 closed due to flooding in WNC, with detours in place. (FOX Carolina/ 5/18/18)
Traffic backed up after I-26 closed due to flooding in WNC, with detours in place. (FOX Carolina/ 5/18/18) Traffic backed up after I-26 closed due to flooding in WNC, with detours in place. (FOX Carolina/ 5/18/18)
Traffic backed up after I-26 closed due to flooding in WNC, with detours in place. (FOX Carolina/ 5/18/18) Traffic backed up after I-26 closed due to flooding in WNC, with detours in place. (FOX Carolina/ 5/18/18)
A look at roadway conditions along Hwy 176 near Tryon, NC (FOX Carolina/ 5/18/18) A look at roadway conditions along Hwy 176 near Tryon, NC (FOX Carolina/ 5/18/18)
A look at roadway conditions along Hwy 176 near Tryon, NC (FOX Carolina/ 5/18/18) A look at roadway conditions along Hwy 176 near Tryon, NC (FOX Carolina/ 5/18/18)
WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA (FOX Carolina) -

Officials with North Carolina Highway Patrol said I-26 was reopened Saturday morning after it was forced to shut down in parts of western North Carolina for nearly 8 hours due to flooding in the area.

Troopers reported that I-26 was closed off around 9:15 p.m. Friday in Henderson County near East Flat Rock and mile marker 54.  Highway patrol confirmed that motorists were unable to get through due to the flooded roadway, and said detours were put in place.

Polk County officials also confirmed mudslides in the Saluda Grade area between Saluda and Tryon, NC.

FOX Carolina meteorologist Isaac Williams said as much as 4" of rain fell in these areas since around 8 p.m. Friday.

Officials with Town of Columbus Fire Department in North Carolina also confirmed that I-26 was shut down east and westbound, urging motorists to avoid getting onto the interstate between Columbus and Saluda.

Tony Priester, Chief of Town of Columbus Fire Department, said a state of emergency was declared in Polk County due to the flooding.

Priester said several roads were flooded and washed out, and reported that Hwy 176 from Tryon to Saluda was shut down due to mudslides and flooding as well.

A command post has been set up at the Tryon Youth Center on Highway 176. 

Fire officials reported 3 feet of water along I-26 where it was shut down. Priester said his crews on scene also reported bad conditions at mile marker 61.

Hwy 221 is also shut down, said fire officials.

Priester said his crews are working with Spartanburg County officials to detour motorists off at Hwy 14, however no confirmed detour has been put in place as of just before midnight.

Fire officials said anyone with plans to travel to Asheville needs to make other arrangements.

Chief Priester had some tips for motorists and residents in the area:

  • If you're able to exit off at Columbus, you can go to the shelter set up for evacuees at Polk County High School
  • If you live near a creek or a river, monitor it and be prepared to evacuate your home if need be because water is rising quickly
  • If you get caught int eh water, roll windows down and get out of your car and sit on top of it; once you realize you're in water, get your windows rolled down so you have a means of escape

At around 5:30 a.m. I-26 was reopened, per NCDOT.

Shortly after 2 p.m., the Henderson County Manager issued an order for emergency assistance.


On Sunday, Polk County Emergency Management officials said they were working to assess the damage and begin to clear roads so they can reopen them.

They ask drivers to avoid the area of US 176 in the Pacolet Valley as well as Holbert Cove Road. NCDOT is working on debris removal in that area.

Stay with FOX Carolina for the latest.

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