High Water Floods Roads, Causes Evacuations in North Carolina Mountains
BOONE, N.C. (AP) _ Heavy rain flooded roads, weakened an earthen dam and caused the evacuation of more than 300 people in the mountains of northwestern North Carolina early today. A woman was killed and a child was missing.
Five inches of rain was reported on Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the eastern United States, and Grandfather Mountain. Rain continued to fall early today.
Water washed over some roads and bridges, and closed schools in mountainous Avery County. The weather service said flooding also was widespread in parts of Ashe, Watauga, Mitchell and Burke counties, which extend south and west from the corner of North Carolina that meets the Virginia and Tennessee lines.
A vehicle was swept into a creek in Montgomery County and divers later pulled out a woman’s body.
″It hydroplaned off the road into the creek, into the rushing water, and got swept down,″ Deputy Ray Chapuis said of the vehicle. Authorities were uncertain if the woman was the only person in the car.
Elsewhere, rescue workers were searching for a child who reportedly fell into a swollen creek in southern Guilford County.
Sheriff’s deputies and other authorities went door-to-door to evacuate residents from about 110 homes in Foscoe at 12:30 a.m. because of seeping at the dam, said Lisa Rash, a spokeswoman with the Watauga County Emergency Management Agency.
Authorities were considering whether to drain water off the five-acre Seven Devils Lake to ease pressure on the dam.
″We’re not letting people back in the area until we get word from the dam- safety people that it’s safe to go back.″ Ms. Rash said. ″I don’t know how long it’s going to take.″
Shelters were set up in Boone and in Elk Park, where the Avery County Sheriff’s Department said nine people were evacuated from along the Elk River.