• The San Juan Daily Star

4 dead and 4 missing in North Carolina flooding


By Neil Vigdor


Four people were killed and four others were still missing after flash floods wiped out homes in western North Carolina in the wake of Tropical Depression Fred last week, authorities said.


The search for victims of the flash flooding continued in Haywood County, according to an update posted Saturday on the county’s Facebook page. The remnants of the tropical depression brought more than 10 inches of rain to the county Tuesday.


All four of the people who died were from Cruso, North Carolina, where homes were swept off their foundations after the Pigeon River overflowed, officials said. The floodwaters washed away bridges and blocked roads with piles of debris.


Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina toured the area Thursday and issued a state of emergency.


“You hope you can find everybody,” Cooper said during a news conference. “After a flash flood, it is chaotic.”


Cooper said that the North Carolina Air National Guard was helping to search for victims of the flooding.


County officials estimated that the flood had caused at least $300 million worth of damage and destroyed 225 structures in Cruso and noted that the estimate did not include damage in the towns of Canton and Clyde.


“When you’re flooded, you really almost have to start all over again,” Cooper said.


On Saturday, officials said that heavy equipment teams were arriving and starting to remove large piles of debris. They urged residents not to pile debris on state roads, which they said would hamper search efforts.


Residents seeking to access areas where the search was ongoing would be required to show identification, authorities said.


Emergency responders had initially said Wednesday that at least 30 people remained unaccounted for in Haywood County after the flash flooding. It was not immediately clear Sunday how many remained missing.


Parts of the Southeast were still cleaning up after Fred brought heavy rains and several tornadoes to the region last week.


In Tennessee on Saturday, authorities reported that at least 10 people were dead and dozens were missing in catastrophic flash flooding.


Fred came ashore Aug. 16 near Cape San Blas, Florida, as a tropical storm. President Joe Biden later approved an emergency declaration for 23 Florida counties, and the storm brought flooding to some areas.


It was the sixth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. The storm had previously made landfall in the Dominican Republic and brought heavy rain to eastern Cuba and some of the Bahamas.