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Heavy rain, flooding impact Yancey County residents, schools

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Heavy rain Thursday morning led to flooding in Yancey County and a handful of road closures impacting schools and residents. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Heavy rain Thursday morning led to flooding in Yancey County and a handful of road closures impacting schools and residents.

Water spilled over roads off U.S. 19 West near the Cane River near Burnsville.

Early in the day, a driver got stuck trying to make it through that water over Monroe King Road.

The West Yancey fire chief said the water came up very fast, flowing down mountainsides like Mount Mitchell and into the Cane River, sending it over its banks.

Water covered a portion of Whittington Road, blocking the way in and out of a metal recycling business and a recreation park.

For a good portion of the day residents couldn't get to their homes.

“We live down this road, and it's already got over 2 foot of water over it. So, we're just going to hang out, hope that it goes down,” Nick Hensley said.

I guess I'm just going to stay here and watch it,” said his son, Mason, who attends Yancey County schools.

Classes started at 8 Thursday morning with reports roads were clear, but then the water starting coming up fast, covering about a half dozen roads.

With water rising quickly, superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton decided to send students home at 9. The message went out to parents … 'Come pick up your kids if you’d like.’ But then, Tipton said, he got reports in a 15-minute span of nearly half a dozen roads closed because of flooding.

At that point, Tipton made the call to keep students at schools and in safe places. The end result ... some parents picked up their kids while some students stayed at school for the remainder of the day.

“And I understand that was quite frustrating for parents, some coming. And we certainly apologize for that. But we just felt it was best to stay where we were,” Tipton said.

Tipton said, of 2,100 students, 355 stayed in school Thursday.

He said, at the time, he made what he thought was the best decision. In hindsight, he said problems could have been avoided had school been called off.

Yancey County school leaders said they'll continue to monitor weather conditions and will make a decision about Friday’s schedule in the morning.

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