Governor Roy Copper used his powers to declare a State of Emergency for Western North Carolina after Tropical Storm Fred ponded the area on Tuesday.
North Carolina 11th District Congressman Madison Cawthorne was also on the ground in WNC, touring damage sites and meeting with residents and business owners effected by the storm.
The order reads:
“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 Governor 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 weighing of vehicles used to transport livestock, poultry or crops ready to be harvested. The Council of State concurred with the Order today.
Nearly a foot of rain has fallen over the past three days in some areas of Western North Carolina, from the remnants of Tropical Storm 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.
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.
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.