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Flooding History in Mecklenburg County
Records show there've been more than 45 significant flood events in Mecklenburg County in the past century with at least 20 known deaths and more than $80 million in property damage.

Mecklenburg County Drainage Commission established by the NC General Assembly.

"Great Flood" on the Catawba River. Two Category 4 hurricanes converged over western North Carolina causing more than three days of downpours. West of Charlotte, the Catawba River crested at more than 47 feet. The flood water was nearly twice as deep as that of any previously recorded flood. At least 13 people died when a double-track railroad bridge over the river between Charlotte and Gastonia gave way. The crews had been trying to secure the bridge when it washed out. A few survivors were rescued from treetops the following morning.

20-year flood washed out two bridges on Stewart Creek. Several streams dredged throughout city and county. 

Mecklenburg County map of rain occurance.

Flooding damaged homes and forced some families to evacuate from Myers Park and along Westfield Road.
US Army Corps of Engineers studied local flooding problems and recommended channelization of 7.6 miles of Little Sugar and Briar Creeks.
Local flood prevention ordinance adopted.
50-year flood on Little Sugar Creek; several homes damaged.

Three separate floods caused $12 million in damages in Charlotte. County began program of stabilizing eroding stream banks with rip-rap (rock).
25-year flood on Irwin and Sugar Creeks. Many homes in Pineville severely damaged. It was the second time in two years that Irwin Creek had at least a 25-year flood.
City of Charlotte adopted Floodplain Ordinance and first floodplain maps.
25-year flood damaged some homes along McAlpine Creek near Sardis Road.

Subdivision ordinances require floodplains to be delineated for smaller, non-FEMA streams; County's first greenway park opened along McAlpine Creek.

US Army Corps of Engineers conducted large-scale flood control study for Sugar Creek Basin, which recommended removing many flood-prone buildings and channelization.

30-year flood in McMullen Creek  and 25-year flood on Irwin Creek. 

Property damage was caused by 25-year floods on Little Sugar Creek and Little Hope Creek.

Charlotte Storm Water Services created.

Mecklenburg County Storm Water Services created.

100-year flood in August caused by Tropical Storm Jerry.  
USGS rain gages record 9.37" of rain. Flooding in the Briar, McMullen and McAlpine watersheds resulted in $4 million in flood insurance claims and an additional $1 million in loans to repair property damage. Flood stage records were set for McMullen and McAlpine Creeks, with McAlpine at 19.40 feet. See the rainfall map. 

USGS Report - Effects of August 1995 and July 1997 Storms in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina  

Train plunged into Little Sugar Creek when 1997 flood washed out the bridge
A CSX engine plunged into the bed of Little Sugar Creek when floodwater 
washed out the bridge


On July 22, a 100-year flood from the remnants of Hurricane Danny caused millions of dollars in property damage. Three people, including a child, died in the floodwater. The most extensive flood damage was in the Little Sugar and McAlpine Creek Watersheds.

The maximum total rainfall recorded at USGS rain gauges was 13.11 inches over a 36-hour period. A record flood stage was set for Little Sugar Creek at Archdale Drive at 15.06 feet. Property damage exceeded $8.5 million. See the rainfall map.

USGS Report - Effects of August 1997 and July 1997 Storms in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina

An unusual January thunderstorm dumped 1.5 inches of rain in Central Charlotte in one hour. A man drowned after stepping into a storm drain and was washed into a creek.

An extensive floodplain re-mapping project was initiated by local government.

The hydrologic data collection network operated by US Geological Survey, in cooperation with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services, created a network of 50 rain gauges and 25 stream flow gauging stations.  

More than 100 flood-prone homes were bought and removed from the floodplain; residents relocated to higher ground.

Mecklenburg County Storm Water Services, along with other city and county agencies, developed a Flood Response Plan and Master Greenway Plan.

Heavy rainfall in March caused flash flooding and $2 million worth of damage. See the rainfall map.

Many buildings flooded along Briar Creek and its tributary, Campbell Creek, in June. Damage topped $1 million. A large sinkhole developed in hotel parking lot near Independence Boulevard. See the rainfall map.

Flood Information Notification System (FINS) became operational using the USGS stream gauge and rain gauge network to provide early warning to emergency responders during flood events. 

FEMA adopted Mecklenburg County's newest floodplain maps.

Remnants of Hurricane Frances dumped more than 20 inches of rain in the upper reaches of the Catawba River watershed in September. Rainfall in the mountains was greater than the flood of 1916. The resulting runoff caused significant flooding along the Catawba River below Mountain Island Lake dam. In Mecklenburg County, more than forty houses were flooded and eight were destroyed, with damages totaling approximately $1.5 million. Mecklenburg County is included in a Federal Disaster Declaration issued by President George W. Bush. See the rainfall map.

Thunderstorms in July caused flooding along Briar and Little Hope Creeks with some damage to buildings. See the rainfall map.

Summer thunderstorms caused flooding in various parts of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Stewart Creek flooded twice in a four week period. The July 22nd event was greater than a 100-year flood with about 150-people forced to evacuate homes and apartments. See the rainfall map. In August, flooding damaged buildings and prompted evacuations near Little Sugar, Briar and Steele Creeks. Minor flooding occurred near Four Mile Creek. See the rainfall map. 

Downpours from Tropical Storm Fay flooded more that 600 structures in the early morning hours of August 27th. Dozens of people were evacuated, including 20 swift-water rescues made by the Charlotte Fire Department. 90% of the flooding was in the Briar Creek Watershed. A federal Disaster Declaration was issued.

Rainfall in a 24-hour period in northeastern Mecklenburg County exceeded 11 inches. Stream gauges measuring water depth in local creeks set 19 new records, exceeding the 100-year flood level in some areas. Damage was estimated at $8.5 million. See the rainfall map.
    Rescue boat at flooded Cavalier Apartments in August 2008     The Cavalier Apartments were 
destroyed by the 2008 flood

Two weeks later, thunderstorms sent Little Sugar Creek over its banks. During afternoon rush-hour on Sept. 10th, fire crews used inflatable rafts to make 22 rescues from flooded buildings and from vehicles on flooded streets. More than five inches of rain fell in less than three hours in the headwaters of Little Sugar Creek. See the rainfall map.

After the 2008 floods, Storm Water Services bought 37 flood-damaged homes before owners repaired them. The homes were demolished and the floodplain was returned to open space. More about Floodplain Quick Buys.​

Heavy rain hit during the afternoon rush hour of May 5. Many streets and about a dozen buildings flooded, mostly in the Briar and Little Sugar Creek watersheds and near Independence Boulevard and the Belk Freeway. See the rainfall map.

An August thunderstorm caused flooding in much of central Charlotte, with the heaviest rain from Freedom Park to the SouthPark mall area. Some buildings were evacuated. See the rainfall map.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Ida and a nor'easter combined over Charlotte in November, causing drenching rain. A woman's body was found in Irwin Creek in west Charlotte, which had risen ten feet. See the rainfall map.

Heavy rain in January caused street and house flooding and evacuations, mostly in the Reedy and McMullen Watersheds.

Memorial Day flooding prompted many evacuations and rescues. Among them: two Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers were rescued from the roofs of their patrol cars in north Charlotte, and a Charlotte Fire Truck stalled in floodwater on North Tryon Street just beyond uptown. See the rainfall map.

Thunderstorms with at least four-inch rainfall and flooding also occurred twice in July and twice in August.

A thunderstorm stalled over central Mecklenburg County on Aug. 5 dropping nearly seven inches of rain in less than four hours. More than 150 homes and businesses flooded, mostly northwest and west of uptown Charlotte. Emergency responders assisted nearly 90 people caught in flooded vehicles and flooded buildings. Damage was more than $2 million, mostly in the Irwin, Stewart and "big" Sugar Creek Watersheds. Two people drowned in Irvins Creek in southeast Charlotte. See the rainfall map.

Isolated flooding occurred again in late September when a five-day rainy period included several heavy downpours. The intense rain interfered with Festival in the Park and the Carolina Panthers' home football game against the Jaguars on Sept. 25.

Part of the roof of SouthPark mall collapsed due to heavy rain from a July thunderstorm.  The most significant stream flooding was along McMullen Creek in south Charlotte. See the rainfall map.

Heavy rain in the mountains caused flooding May 7 and 8 along the Catawba River and its reservoirs, including Mountain Island Lake. Nearly 100 Mecklenburg County homes were affected.

On June 28, parts of Northern Mecklenburg County got close to six inches of rain in four hours. With the ground already saturated, several houses flooded near McDowell Creek and Gilead Road. See the rainfall map.

Intense rain on July 11 flooded parts of west Charlotte. About four inches of rain fell in less than three hours. Many streets were flooded along with six homes and several apartments. See the rainfall map.


Parts of Matthews, Mint Hill and southeast Charlotte experienced a 1% chance flood on July 15. More than five inches of rain fell in two hours. Three homes had minor flooding and many streets were flooded. See the rainfall map​.