At least 30 missing after severe weather hits North Carolina


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) — At least 30 people are missing in one North Carolina county and nearly 100 more needed to be rescued as Tropical Storm Fred tore through the state.

Nearly a foot of rain has fallen over the past three days in some areas of Western North Carolina, from the remnants of Fred and the rains that preceded it, and record flooding is occurring. Haywood County appears to be the most severely impacted, where historic flooding is happening along the Pigeon River. More than 98 people have already been rescued from floodwaters in western counties.

Local officials in Haywood County estimate approximately 30 people are currently missing, and water systems in Canton and Clyde have been impacted and boil water advisories are in effect, Cooper said.

North Carolina Emergency Management has deployed swift water rescue teams from across the state to Western North Carolina, and National Guard and Highway Patrol helicopter crews are conducting searches.

More than 250 responders from across the state are involved in the search and rescue effort.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued a State of Emergency Wednesday to activate the state’s emergency operations plan and waive transportation rules to help first responders and the agriculture industry. 

“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,” said Cooper. “North Carolina is strong and resilient, and we’re committed to helping people and businesses recover as quickly as possible.”

Executive Order 227 waives the size and weight requirements for vehicles carrying emergency relief supplies or services to assist with the restoration of utility services, debris removal and emergency relief efforts.

The order also helps North Carolinians harvest and transport their crops more quickly, by temporarily suspending the weighing of vehicles used to transport livestock, poultry or crops ready to be harvested. The Council of State concurred with the order Wednesday. 

Haywood, Jackson, McDowell, Madison, Mitchell, Rutherford, Transylvania and Yancey counties have all declared local states of emergency. Utility companies are working to restore power after outages peaked at about 50,000 customers Tuesday night. There are currently approximately 11,600 outages reported.  

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