Those among us who were here in September of 2004 will never forget the devastation that descended on Swannanoa in the wake of Hurricanes Frances and Ivan. The remnants of these two 100-year storms struck our area back-to-back, dumping up to 20 inches of rain in the Valley. The normally placid Swannanoa River became an angry, raging torrent of water, flooding streets and homes, and carrying with it anything in its path – cars, trees, mobile homes. Much of Swannanoa was without water and electricity for days. The cleanup took months, and many families were permanently displaced from their homes.
In the 10 years since 2004, a number of steps have been taken at the local level to reduce the risk of flood damage and ensure that our communities are more adequately prepared for future disasters of this kind, including removing structures from the floodplain, making improvements to the reservoirs, installing additional stream gauges and developing an early warning system. To read a September Asheville Citizen-Times article about the floods and their aftermath, please click here.