Floods in the Mountains of Northwestern North Carolina

Floods are the most common, damaging, and life-threatening of all natural hazards in the United States as well as in North Carolina (O'Connor and Costa 2003). Floods occur in the High Country as a result of a variety of storm types, including wave cyclones, local convection, and tropical storms. Most recently, devastating floods occurred throughout the area during the fall of 2004 when hurricanes Frances and Ivan passed through the area. Mayfield and former graduate student Jess Salo are working on a project that attempts to place those floods in the context of the meteorologic processes that generate flooding in relation to the geomorphology of the watersheds. The watershed of the South Fork New River is a prime example. The headwaters region of the watershed includes the towns of Blowing Rock, Boone, West Jefferson and Jefferson.