Governor Roy Cooper will declare a State of Emergency for western North Carolina after heavy rains, mudslides and road closures.

The declaration will help the state coordinate storm response and prepare for any additional impacts.

The Governor will also issue a transportation waiver to expedite the movement of utility vehicles and others engaged in relief efforts.

In a 24 hour period, four to seven inches of rain fell across portions of the mountains adding to the already heavily saturated ground.

Areas along the Blue Ridge have received from 10-20” of rain since May 15th, making conditions favorable for downed trees and mudslides. S

tate and local officials are keeping a close watch on several western NC rivers that are currently experiencing minor flooding.

State transportation officials have closed roads in Avery, Watauga, Mitchell, McDowell, Buncombe, Henderson, Rutherford, Macon, Polk, Transylvania, Gaston, Catawba and Iredell counties.

More than 200 people have sought refuge in shelters in McDowell, Buncombe, Polk and Rutherford counties.

More than 6,500 power outages were reported across western counties.