Photo by Jess Daddio \r\n\r\nThis weekend will see one of the biggest rain events in recorded history for the western part of the Carolinas. The heart of such whitewater classics as the Green Narrows, Linville Gorge and Raven Fork, Western North Carolina is already soaked from last weekend\u2019s rain and has been hit with over an inch and a half in the last 24 hours from a strong low-pressure system. As Hurricane Joaquin makes its way northeastward to join the storm, National Weather Service meteorologists predict another seven to 10 inches for the region over the next two days, issuing a flash flood warning for area rivers until 8 a.m. Monday.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s going to be in the top 10 or top 5 events since 1884 when the climate observation record started,\u201d Scott Krentz, meteorologist with the NWS Greenville-Spartanburg office, said. The ground being saturated will make it easier for runoff to make it to streams, causing them to jump instead of climb. Trees are at a higher risk of falling into the streams as well, according to Krentz, because their root systems are less able to hold onto all of the saturated soil. Landslides are also a threat to the area this weekend.\r\n\r\n\u201cIn situations like this, emergency services and the rescue squad are all hands on deck,\u201d Major Frank Stout, public information officer with the Henderson County Sheriff\u2019s Office, said. The County Rescue Squad has 19 available members on call and duty throughout the weekend, and local fire departments are on standby to help should the need arise. Stout concluded, \u201cOur first and foremost job is to do everything we can for citizens to keep them safe as the storm rolls in.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWhile red warnings flash across TV screens and news updates on websites urge citizens to prepare for \u201clife-threatening flooding,\u201d a whole other slew of alerts have been blowing up the social message feeds asking, where should we go paddling?\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s easy to be enticed by rising gauges, especially because of the drought,\u201d Shane Benedict, co-founder and managing partner of Liquidlogic Kayaks, said. Since Wednesday, photos and gauge levels have kept paddlers informed and alert to which runs to hit and when, everyone thirsting for rivers and creeks that have run dry throughout the spring and summer.\r\n\r\nOne of the major locations that has kept the attention of both paddlers and the Henderson County Rescue Squad all week is Bat Cave, North Carolina, home to the Upper and Lower Rocky Broad. Tucked at the near bottom of steep mountain sides, Bat Cave has been pounded with downpours on and off since late last week, and, with expected rainfall this weekend, the Rocky Broad is primed for flooding akin to 2004\u2019s levels, washing out the town.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019re planning to have a unit there should swift water rescue become necessary,\u201d Stout said. A 4-man swift water rescue team and a 2-man advanced life-saving team will be sent out\u00a0 to Bat Cave Saturday morning. According to Stout, the rescue team\u2019s major worry will be people leaving or trying to leave their homes at the last minute and becoming stranded in dangerous situations.\r\n\r\nStout said he recognizes paddlers will likely be out on the water this weekend and just asks for those who do to recognize the reality of\u00a0 the situation for both themselves and the rescue teams.\r\n\r\n\u201cOur focus is on residents that may be stranded or in harm\u2019s way that do not have the skills and abilities to navigate or negotiate high water, not those who are using the high water for recreation and could potentially get in trouble,\u201d Stout said, \u201cthat just spreads our resources very thinly.\u201d\r\n\r\nBenedict recognized the point, saying, \u201cI don\u2019t envy that; it\u2019s a tough job to take care of those people who have gotten into situations they can\u2019t handle.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn his 35 years paddling in the Southeast, Benedict said he\u2019s experienced high water events, especially in 2013 when most of the rivers anyone could run were really high. Fortunately, the river community knew when to get on and when to stay off that season.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe majority of kayakers who are going to go out on a day like today or the next couple of days know what they\u2019re getting into. They are going to sections of river that are appropriate for the amount of rain that they\u2019re seeing.\u201d\r\n\r\nAll week, posts on one Facebook page have been updated almost nonstop of the Rocky Broad, not only of the latest river reading but also with questions and answers regarding what level is safe, too high, or too low to run, if any new wood has collected and who can meet up and what time.\r\n\r\nAnd while some rivers like the French Broad and Saluda Rivers have flood warnings until Monday and several others are at risk, these aren\u2019t the rivers most paddlers are targeting. Some micro-creeks, dry beds, isolated gorges and other spots need near record-setting rains just to get them to a level that can be paddled at all.\r\n\r\n\u201cSometimes, we\u2019ll wait a year or two years for a specific section to run. We\u2019re keeping it on our radars for when that rain is falling in that watershed for that river,\u201d Benedict added. He concluded, \u201cThese are all calculated decisions we\u2019ve made.