Haywood County Search and Rescue crews and first responders from all across Western North Carolina are wrapping up their first full day of operations after Tropical Storm Fred brought torrential rains and flooding to much of Western North Carolina.
Areas in Haywood County, specifically Canton and Cruso, were hit hardest with flood waters as the Pigeon River burst its banks after hours of pounding rain.
Allison Richmond, Haywood County's Emergency Services Public Information Officer released the following statement shortly after 6:00 pm Wednesday night.
The statement reads as follows;
"As we near the end of our first full day of operations following Tropical Storm Fred’s passage through Haywood County and subsequent floods and damage this update will provide the latest information available on the search and rescue efforts for our unaccounted for residents.
At this time we have around 35 people still unaccounted for. Several people were located safe and reunited with their families, and several others were added to the list throughout the day as loved ones called in.
Ground, aerial (drone), and swift water rescue teams were sent to areas hardest hit to begin the process of searching and securing.
Search teams are expected to end their day today around 7 p.m. in order to protect searchers from unseen dangers after dark.
Residents hoping to access active search areas are being asked to present identification before entering restricted areas.
There is significant damage to roads and bridges, especially in Cruso, with at least 10-15 bridges damaged or destroyed.
Additional teams will aid in the search tomorrow. Engineering teams will also be arriving to work on assessing damage and constructing temporary bridges.
The emergency shelter at Tuscola High School is housing 40 people tonight.
A new helpline is also in place for anyone seeking assistance related to the storm. The helpline number is 828-356-2022. The hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Types of assistance available through the helpline:
- Missing person information
- Food, housing assistance
- Special needs assistance
- Volunteer or donation opportunities
- Other storm-related needs
Residents with immediate, life-threatening needs, should call 911, otherwise use this number for all other needs."
There are still several area roads that remain closed as well.
- Worley Cove Road - Bridge collapse
- Worley Cove Road/Mystic Meadows - Road washing away
- Pisgah Creek Bridge - Bridge washed away
- 6325 Cruso Road - Bridge gone
- Spring Meadows/Stamey Cove - Sink hole
- 276 is closed at Mundy Field
- Reece Road in Lake Logan
- Top of Israel Road
- Upper Crabtree Road
- Riverside Road
- Wells Road - Center Pigeon
- Burnett Cove Road