Catawba County is one of several North Carolina counties listed under a flood watch.
Heavy rainfall saturates soil already moist from rain, causing significant runoff into streams and creeks, according to the National Weather Service. Those conditions can lead to flooding in the area. The flood watch is in effect until Thursday afternoon.
Much of western North Carolina is expected to see 2-4 inches of rain from Wednesday to Thursday. Other counties under a flood watch include Alexander, Burke, Iredell, Lincoln and Gaston.
Although the county's rain could present possible flooding problems, the precipitation comes as much-needed moisture for the Catawba County, which was classified March 1 as having moderate drought conditions, according to the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council. Twenty-seven other counties are classified as experiencing moderate drought conditions, which means crops sustain some damage and streams or water reservoirs are low.
Catawba County received some rainfall last weekend, which could improve drought conditions when the state drought advisory council releases its next drought report. Duke Energy opened the Oxford Dam flood gates Monday after weekend rains increased the water level.
The NWS asks residents to be mindful of areas prone to flooding and continually monitor weather alerts.
Catawba County residents may register for the Community Alert System messages online at www.catawbacountync.gov/alert . Official emergency news and preparedness information is posted on Twitter @CatCoEM and through the county Facebook page at www.facebook.com/catawbacountync .