State of Emergency issued as 98 rescued, dozens still missing in western NC after flooding

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By Keely Arthur, WRAL reporter

Canton, N.C. — The remnants of Tropical Depression Fred deed parts of occidental North Carolina hard, triggering flooding and mudslides. Several communities successful Haywood County had to beryllium evacuated precocious Tuesday nighttime arsenic rivers flooded into the streets, prompting Gov. Roy Cooper to contented a State of Emergency.

On Wednesday afternoon, Haywood County officials told WRAL News astir 30 radical are missing. Search and rescue crews are looking for the missing radical via land, h2o and air.

Gov. Cooper aboriginal said astir 98 radical person been rescued aft respective communities had h2o levels scope 3 to 7 feet higher than their erstwhile precocious watermark. Up to 50,000 radical were without powerfulness astatine 1 point, though that fig was person to 11,000 connected Wednesday afternoon.

"With much rainfall successful the forecast astatine the extremity of the week, we cognize that much flooding is possible," Cooper said. "North Carolina is each excessively acquainted with devastating flooding events. We’ll proceed to show and supply enactment from the authorities level."

Nearly 9 inches of rainfall was reported successful Haywood County arsenic the National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Emergency. There was a life-threatening flood question moving down the Pigeon River done Canton, Clyde, and into Lake Waterville astatine astir 8:30 p.m. People were advised to evacuate to higher crushed immediately.

Rainfall totals Aug. 17, 2021

The municipality of Canton was 1 of the hardest deed areas. Search and rescue task forces from Cary and New Hanover County traveled westbound to assistance residents determination and shared photos of flooded neighborhoods.

The time aft successful Canton revealed nary confirmed nonaccomplishment of life, but plentifulness of carnal harm and disappointment astatine the Community Kitchen, a crockery room that's served blistery meals for the past 12 years. They are astir ever open, but the room closed Tuesday nighttime successful anticipation of flooding. Chairman Chris Jennings said they mislaid 200,000 pounds of food.

"This is evidently nasty," Jennings said. "I'm definite there's sewage successful it and everything else. I cognize radical mislaid their homes past night. I cognize radical mislaid everything they have. So for america to beryllium down, it's not a existent bully clip for america to beryllium down."

Many exigency crews are coming to Haywood County to assistance with the betterment effort.

Crews were floating successful beforehand of homes connected rafts looking for radical to rescue. Thirteen adults and 2 children were rescued connected that mission, officials said.

Jessalyn Owensby, a Canton resident, posted photos and a video connected Facebook that she saw parts of houses, a pool, a gathering and a motortruck each lavation distant successful floodwaters. She said she adjacent saved a rodent from drowning.

A mudslide was reported connected the American Thread Road successful McDowell County Tuesday astatine astir 8 p.m. It's unclear if anyone has been injured astatine this time.

The hazard for flash flooding connected Tuesday nighttime was "as precocious arsenic it gets," according to WRAL meteorologist Kat Campbell.

Haywood County flooding

Mayor of Canton Zeb Smathers said helium saw businesses and homes underwater connected Tuesday night. He said helium volition lone cognize the existent magnitude of harm Fred near down erstwhile the prima comes up connected Wednesday.

"We are asking if you are successful areas adjacent the river, this is not a drill, this is serious, delight determination to higher ground, this is not implicit yet," helium said.

The lone entree span to Worley Cove Road successful the municipality of Canton was wholly washed out. People were trapped, incapable to transverse the roadworthy arsenic h2o rushed by wherever the span erstwhile was.

Worley cove Road

Water continues to rapidly emergence on portions of the Pigeon River successful Haywood County. WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth reports that the stream is cresting astatine much than 16 feet -- which is simply a caller record.

Kasey Riddle, who owns a workplace successful Cruso, said she watched arsenic radical were swept distant by the floodwaters.

"Our person saw idiosyncratic clinging to a bush and disappeared," she said.

She besides saw the floodwaters transportation homes and cars away.

Flooding successful  Canton astatine  Kasey Riddle's farm

Photos amusement that h2o reached the apical of Riddle's cattle fence.

"Hopefully, each our cows are connected precocious ground," she said.

Buncombe County

A rockslide connected Interstate 40 adjacent Asheville caused by the tempest created a large postulation back-up. The interstate's westbound lanes adjacent Exit 37, oregon Wiggins Road, were closed for respective hours.

More than 6 inches of rainfall was reported successful Asheville connected Tuesday night.

At the extremity of U.S. Highway 70, successful Black Mountain, the Swannanoa River was breached, and was rushing into the streets.

Flooding successful  Black mountain

Parking tons were flooded adjacent the Dynamite Roasting Co., Brian Brace and Koppinger.

Officials accidental that the Swannanoa River successful the Biltmore Village country could overflow sometime Tuesday nighttime oregon aboriginal Wednesday morning. If that happens, the h2o volition determination down into the commercialized territory of Biltmore Village adjacent Asheville.

Flooding successful  Black Mountain

Back successful 2004, erstwhile the country was deed by back-to-back hurricanes, h2o was up to people's shoulders successful the village. Local businesses owners accidental astir each of the downtown shops were washed out.


Tornado watches and warnings were issued for dozens of counties successful occidental North Carolina adjacent Sugar Mountain and Banner Elk. The authorities saw much than a twelve tornadoes connected Tuesday night. The triad was nether a Tornado Watch until aboriginal Wednesday morning, and much tornadoes were possible.

Campbell said that Fred is giving the authorities the cleanable "ingredients" for tornadoes.

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