Fred slams North Carolina, leaves more than 30 people missing after widespread flooding

Posts on social media showed images of the extensive flooding in Haywood County near Asheville and emergency response teams were seen rescuing dozens of people. 


“Ongoing search and rescue efforts are happening in Lake Logan and the Cruso areas,” Haywood County Emergency Services Director Travis Donaldson said during a news conference.

In a Facebook post, the county wrote that the hunt for the 35 people “still unaccounted for” would continue on Thursday, with additional search teams –  including members of the National Guard and Highway Patrol helicopter crews – working to locate loved ones.

Canton Mayor Zeb Smathers said that the storm had “created a major disaster area” in his town.

Photos from the North Carolina Department of Transportation showed crumbling roadways and bridges washed out by the storm and Transylvania County Schools said the district would be on a two-hour delay as floodwaters are still high and locals continue to clean up the area. 

Mudslides, landslides and several apparent tornadoes also threatened residents as the storm moved into the Northeast.

Haywood, Transylvania, Jackson, McDowell, Madison, Mitchell, Rutherford and Yancey counties have all declared local states of emergency. 

Gov. Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency on Wednesday in order to aid first responders and the agriculture industry and activate the state’s emergency operations plan. 

“This state of emergency will allow our first responders to get into our affected communities quickly to save lives, restore power, remove debris and bring supplies,” he said in a statement. “North Carolina is strong and resilient, and we’re committed to helping people and businesses recover as quickly as possible.”

Cooper noted that nearly a foot of rain had fallen in areas of western North Carolina over the past three days and said Wednesday that there were unconfirmed reports in some communities that put water levels at “3 to 7 feet higher than their previous high watermark,” according to The Charlotte Observer.

While 37,000 customers were recorded without power on Wednesday in both North Carolina and West Virginia, just under 3,000 North Carolinians were powerless on Thursday morning, according to nationwide outage tracker PowerOutage.US.

Approximately 100 people had been rescued across the state and 911 call records showed 2,400 calls within 24 hours in Buncombe County. 

No deaths or injuries were immediately reported in North Carolina but officials said a man was killed on Monday night near Panama City, Florida.

More rain is forecast for North Carolina later in the week and Tropical Storm Henri has moved toward the U.S. coast and is expected to become a hurricane by the weekend.

As post-Tropical Cyclone Fred moves into southern New York on Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said Henri was located over the Atlantic Ocean approximately 525 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and about 810 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.