Charlotte, the center of a sprawling, heavily populated area, was at a virtual standstill on Sunday as heavier rains approached. Clouds wrapped around the crown of the Bank of America Corporate Center — the state’s tallest building, at 871 feet — and uptown streets, typically quiet on weekends, were almost entirely deserted.
In and beyond the business district, the local authorities were urging people to stay off the region’s roads, and many shops and restaurants were closed even on Saturday evening, well before the worst of the storm system was to strike the Charlotte area. Officials announced last week that schools and city government offices would be closed Monday.
As officials across the Carolinas pleaded with residents not to try to drive on flooded streets, and warned that the storm still posed a serious threat, they also prepared for what will most likely be a long and costly recovery.
Some who had evacuated returned home on Saturday evening to survey the damage. Tanya Caulder of Coward, S.C., found a giant tree on her front lawn after spending two nights at a shelter. Fortunately, the tree had fallen away from the house and just missed the pump house, which her family used to get water.
But Ms. Caulder, who had stayed at the shelter with 12 relatives, said she was still worried about flooding. During Hurricane Matthew, she said, the nearby Lynches River had sent water into her mobile home. All 13 members of the family would be staying at the house that night, she said, since only her place still had power.
“But if I see water come up in the backyard, I’m out of here,” Ms. Caulder said.