Appalachian Dialect Weather

Microburst = Cloud Burst

My life in appalachia - Cloud Burst

There has been devastating flooding in Western NC and North Georgia as hurricane Fred tracks its way north.

Our county had flooding issues in several areas. Thankfully by the time Fred moved on we had only suffered a washed out driveway, a little water in the basement, and a small pond in the chicken lot.

Folks in Haywood County NC had a really rough go of it and there are still people unaccounted for. A news article I read about the damage called the portion of the storm that went through the Cruso area of Haywood County a microburst. As a result of the massive dump of rain folks living in Cruso and the Lake Logan section suffered mightily.

A microburst is what we call a cloud burst.

I’ve heard the term cloud burst since I was a kid. One frightening story I remember actually came from the same general are of the recent microburst.

I was living in Haywood County and working at Lake Logan which at that time was a meeting facility for Champion International. The caretaker of the grounds told me about a cloud burst that happened farther up the river when he was a young boy that washed houses away and even washed some people over the dam—specifically in his memory, a lady who still had her gown(d) on.

Another story I heard about a cloud burst came from the Travel WNC, a project of Hunter Library Digital Programs and Special Collections at Western Carolina University. The following article about a cloud burst is from 1905.


“Over 100 Passengers Cooped Up All Night on the Murphy Branch – Numerous Washouts On Account of Cloudburst. Special to The Observer.

“Asheville, July 12. – A special this afternoon from Andrews, on the Murphy branch says: Heavy rain, practically a cloud-burst, last night caused numerous washouts, flooding the track over two feet for half a mile, near Topton. A number of trestle supports were carried away, paralyzing traffic. Train No. 19 stalled in a tunnel five miles east of Andrews. Over a hundred were on board all night. The trestle at the east entrance of the tunnel gave way on the passing of the rear coach, and ditching was narrowly avoided. The train was brought to a stop in the tunnel. Investigation ahead revealed another washed-out bridge 50 feet from the west end of the tunnel. The train is still unable to proceed either way. The coaches were packed with people, two in a seat, some standing all night. Many women and children attending the Topton barbecue were aboard. A majority of the passengers walked to Andrews over the flooded tracks for breakfast. The wires are crippled.”

—Charlotte Observer, July 13, 1905

My heart goes out to all those effected by the flooding from hurricane Fred.


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  • Reply
    Dennis M Morgan
    August 23, 2021 at 9:15 am

    I was wondering how your area did in the recent flooding. The damage from the flooding looked like a tornado had gone through the area. Several years ago we had a cloud burst here in Columbia S.C. that caused a lot of flooding and some loss of life. It was amazing how much rain fell for a long period of time. It just reminds us that we are not in control of nature.

  • Reply
    Donna Dickerson
    August 20, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    I live in the panhandle of Florida. I have several cousins who live in NC. One of my cousins told me about you and all the good things you share on your channel. I am so glad he did. I enjoy watching you and your family. Fred came thru the panhandle with a vengeance, causing lots of damage, but Thank God, not to my house. The wind and rain was so fierce, we were in question if it was a Hurricane and not just a tropical storm. When we heard west NC received bad weather due to this same storm, we thought of you. So glad all of you are ok. Thanks for the update letting us know.

    • Reply
      August 20, 2021 at 7:04 pm

      Donna-so glad you’re enjoying what we do 🙂 and I’m so glad you made it through Fred okay too!

  • Reply
    August 19, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    I’ve been out to Glacier Park Montana & Lewistown, Montana for a week visiting my old Sunday School Teachers and some of my Sunday School Class so I have had to do catch up reading of your blog. I didn’t have time to watch news and my phone had no service. We had heavy rain only at night for two nights. The west really needs the rain but I am glad to know you and your family was safe from Fred. Here in PA, some areas had flooding but not as bad as they expected.
    I felt like you were using some of your time to spend a day or so with your Mother each week. That is a special time for you both. I know your Mother has been such a blessing to you and your family and it is wonderful that you could do this. By the way, it seems like I am watching some of those old westerns too. God Bless.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 19, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    I thought we were all through with the wicked weather that plagued us most of this week. The sun came out yesterday and I awoke to a bright blue sky this morning. “Maybe we are in the clear for a while and it’ll be dry enough this evening to cut grass!” Well it was pretty all day and just about 5 o’clock as I started to go out and fire up the mower I heard thunder then a sprinkling of rain on the roof. “I’d better shut off the surge protector on the computer”. Just as I reached to switch it off I heard a loud crack and say a very bright flash of light. The lights in the monitor and the surge protector immediately went off. The sprinkle of rain became a roar. It was as you described a Cloudburst. “Oh No, I’ve survived Fred with hardly any damage and now it’s coming a flood!” I gave up and went to bed.
    As I lay there listening to the rain I thought I’d better call Duke Power and report this. As I reach for the phone it rang. It was Duke Power reporting an outage in my area. Usually it takes them a minimum of 4 hours to get out here after a severe storm like that but this time there was a man out by the road looking around the transformer. I stood there at the window and watched him. He calmly stood there in the pouring rain and put on his insulated gear, got in his cherry picker and threaded his bucket through the wires. Turns out it was only a fuse and the power came back on. It was only 6:30 when the lights came back on and I breathed a sigh of relief.
    I have a smart meter. I think it might have reported the outage. If fails to send a signal to the computer it is linked to it then reports the outage. Then it calls me to report it.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2021 at 7:32 pm

    Was thinking about you folks in NC while I listened to news and weather. We sometimes call these unusually heavy rain downfalls “gullywashers” because they scour draws, creeks, streams, rivers, any channel of flowing water. Out in the SW, if you are traveling in any channel because they offer a little shade, if you see any dark clouds, hear any thunder, or see lighting, you get out quick because even if you aren’t getting any of the wet stuff, water could come thundering through without warning because of one of those microbursts (gullywasher) upstream.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    I’m you’re ok. Our neighborhood outside of Richmond, Va., has a flash flood watch. We have some damp spots in our half basement, which has the boiler and hot water heater. We don’t use it, because when the house was built, they didn’t put in an outside entrance. Certain areas in our neighborhood flood, so you just steer clear of them.

  • Reply
    Donald Wells
    August 19, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    Thankful and Happy Tipper You and Your Family suffered no major problems,from the flooding the down burst caused. Many were not as fortunate,reading some of the news articles of the devastation is heart breaking. Times like these, we realize how we’re so dependent on God and Others For Help.
    Psalms50:15 And call upon me in the day of trouble:I will deliver thee,and thou shalt glorify me.

  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    August 19, 2021 at 10:04 am

    Very happy to hear that the Blind Pig family, – Tipper, Matt, Corie, Katie and Granny and all the kin- are OK. That must have been frightening indeed. Hopefully, it was simply a once-in-a-lifetime event.

  • Reply
    Sandra Henderson
    August 19, 2021 at 9:17 am

    You sent me down a rabbit hole this morning. I’ve been reading about lake Logan and it’s history. A good bit out there. Here’s one:

    I was so amazed to hear about this cloudburst and yesterday I think it was like 98 rescued and 30 missing. I’ve not been able to get the local news this morning , I only have an antenna, here in Franklin.. I numbers are better today. So sad.
    We sure had a lot of rain here in Franklin, fortunately, I’m high enough I’m okay.

    That’s interesting that you worked at the lake Logan facility for champion international. It’s changed hands, as I’m sure you know. Beautiful place and so neat that they took some of the old cabins from the park that would have just rotted away.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2021 at 8:56 am

    My area has a flood warning this morning but it’s nothing like the heavy rain in NC. I have been watching the weather on TV and praying that your family will stay safe through the flooding. On the brighter side, when Stamey Creek goes down, you and Chitter can go see what kind of rocks Mother Nature delivered to you.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    August 19, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Pearl Cable referred to an event which did huge damage on Pilkey Creek as a waterspout. I don’t know the details of how concentrated the rain was in Haywood County, but in this event, which occurred in the early 1940s, there came a very concentrated downpour on the east side of Pilkey Creek which completely washed everything away. At the home of Pearl’s folks, about a mile away, there was only a shower.

    Here’s a TVA photo showing the results near the east fork of Pilkey Creek:

    Susan and I drove up on the Blue Ridge Parkway last night. The Parkway was closed where NC 215 crosses. There were apparently a lot of downed trees east of that. In the area where we enjoyed the evening, while there had clearly been considerable rain, as there had been at our home in Swain County, about 30 miles to the west (3.5 inches at our house).

    I looked at some home-based weather stations in Haywood. Some had rain about like we did, but not far away there almost 13 inches fell.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    August 19, 2021 at 8:48 am

    I hate to hear of your area and it’s people being affected by the intense rain but am delighted to hear you and yours fared well through the storm. It rained here for days it seemed. I like rain and I like to see it pass too.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 19, 2021 at 8:22 am

    Mercy. Very glad to hear you and yours remained safe through the dangers. Sorry to hear about your driveway. Water is the worst enemy of roads.

    So sad for those families who have folks missing. That would be such terrible news then the waiting and the wondering. I know someone whose brother was taken in a tornado and no trace was ever found. Nearly sixty years afterward he had very little to say about it. I don’t know from my own experience but I think it just left a hole that never filled.

  • Reply
    Denise R
    August 19, 2021 at 8:02 am

    My sister lives in the Pikeville Kentucky region and she has told us several times how bad it can get down there when storms roll through and the flash flooding that happens. I can’t imagine living through it. We had terrible flooding here in 2008 that made national news when we had 11 inches of rain fall overnight. Dam’s gave way, the town of Paragon, IN was pretty much under water, Martinsville, IN was flooded badly and it there was concern that the levy that holds the Whiteriver back from Martinsville was going to give out. Thankfully it didn’t.
    David Davis, thank you for the link, it was amazing what happened back in ’69.
    On another note, I recently made the homemade soap your daughter makes, talk about wow! We love it, I’ve gave some away to family members and they love it! I’m getting ready to make another batch just to have ready to go when this
    first batch is used up.

  • Reply
    Kathy Gautier
    August 19, 2021 at 7:29 am

    TIpper and family, I am so glad to hear you all are okay. My family enjoys reading your website and enjoying stories that have information we are all familiar with. Many sayings we also use and many recipes we also use. Especially enjoy the canning and cooking segments. Our prayers were answered today when I read this blog as we had all prayed for your safety.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2021 at 6:43 am

    In southern Greenville County, SC we didn’t get so much rain, just a few inches, but there was a lot of tornadoes. The news last night reported 37 warnings and 5 touching down. One was being tracked through my area but did not touch down until it had passed over us, it did touch down near Fountain Inn. I was very well aware of the amount of rain and flooding in NC. I pray and thank God for keeping my family safe but also for the ones that were not so blessed. On the 10 o’clock news last night it was reported that 35 people were still missing in Haywood County and they think there will be more reports of confirmed tornadoes here.

  • Reply
    David Davis
    August 19, 2021 at 6:30 am

    Here’s a Cloudburst that I remember vividly from my childhood.
    The rain that night was so heavy and intense that it was as if the sides of the mountains just slid away forever. Whole towns and communities were literally washed away. There are places were you can still see the scars on the mountainsides.

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