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January 27, 2021

Two more bodies found after deadly North Carolina flooding

By TOM FOREMAN Jr.

Associated Press

Searchers found the bodies Friday of an adult and a 1-year-old boy who disappeared when high water swept through a campground in North Carolina during flooding from heavy rains around the state.

The flooding prompted Gov. Roy Cooper to declare a statewide emergency Friday, a day after the storm. And additional states of emergencies have been declared in five counties, including Alexander County, where flood waters from the South Yadkin River inundated the campground, killing three people there on Thursday.

Emergency workers rescued 31 people from their vehicles, some of them clinging to their campers at the Hiddenite Family Campground, about 50 miles north of Charlotte.

Ryan Mayberry, chairman of the Alexander County commissioners, said he was told how the child was lost in the floodwaters but declined to make that information public.

“It just breaks my heart,” Mayberry said. “It’s just a terrible, heartbreaking event.”
Six people died in flooding in Alexander County, including a motorist who was driving on a road that washed out Thursday.

Doug Gillispie, county director of public services, said National Weather Service meteorologists estimated that 7 inches   of rain fell there, and that the water at the campground reached 14 feet.

In Rolesville, just north of the state capital of Raleigh, police reported a child had drowned Thursday in a creek swollen by the rain. The child, whose name and age were not released, was recovered unresponsive from the water about an hour later, according to Rolesville police.

The National Weather Service estimated that more than 9 inches  of rain fell in Rocky Mount and Harrisburg. Many other areas saw estimated rainfall of 4 to 9 inches, exceeding forecasts, the governor’s office said.

Flooding also prompted hundreds of road closures around the state.

The state Department of Transportation reported more than 430 state-maintained road closures, including hundreds of secondary roads from the mountains to the coast. The governor’s office said those closures included stretches of highways including Interstate 95 north in Johnston County, Interstate 795 in Wilson and N.C. 209 in Madison County, where state crews worked Friday to repair damage from a failed slope.

Numerous bridges also were damaged or closed due to flooding.

The governor’s office said major flooding, meanwhile, is forecast along the Neuse River and Contentnea Creek. It also said moderate flooding is forecast along the Cashie, Dan, Cape Fear, Northeast Cape Fear, Lumber, Tar, South Fork Catawba, Yadkin and South Yadkin rivers.

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