WAXHAW – Union County faced a tornado warning until 12:45 p.m., tornado watch until 5 p.m. and flash flood advisory until midnight Feb. 6 as Winter Storm Kade made its way through the region.
The National Weather Service’s Greenville-Spartanburg Office confirmed a tornado with winds at 95 mph traveled from Pineville to Indian Trail; however, it began to weaken after wrecking structures and trees along N.C. 51 in Matthews.
Union County Commissioner Jerry Simpson issued a Declaration of a State of Emergency at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 6 related to the storm. The move gave Sheriff Eddie Cathey the authority to restrict access to roads if they present a danger to the public.
The sheriff’s office closed a few dozen roads, including Kensington at Waxhaw-Marvin roads, New Town at Providence roads and Waxhaw-Marvin at Oakbrook roads. Some commuters didn’t heed warnings not to drive through standing water.
Brian Stephenson, a producer with WBTV, tweeted footage of a commuter driving through standing water on Unionville-Indian Trail Road, while the sheriff’s office posted video of one of three rescues it made within a one-hour span.
Andrew Houlihan, superintendent of Union County Public Schools, tweeted out photos the next day of a flooded Twelve Mile Creek. He added, “Highest water levels I’ve seen in the last four years, even through two hurricanes!”
The threat of severe weather prompted Union County Public Schools to cancel after-school activities Feb. 6 and classes on Feb. 7. Some parents thanked the district. Others expressed regret UCPS didn’t do it sooner.
“Too bad you didn’t make the call to release early yesterday,” Tracy Somerset wrote on the district’s Facebook page. “It was a scary ride picking up my (Porter Ridge Middle School) kid yesterday while watching roads floods. I was seriously worried we were going to get trapped. Flood warnings should be taken very seriously.”