RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WNCN) — Tropical Depression Fred continued to move through the North Carolina mountains Tuesday night, causing landslides, flooding and damage from high winds — along with some tornadoes.
At least 10 inches of rain fell in some areas since Monday causing massive flooding along rivers and streams.
Clay Chaney, a meteorologist with National Weather Service, said a local fire chief in North Carolina told the agency a tornado was on the ground in northern Iredell County early Tuesday afternoon.
The weather service was also looking into reports of a tornado hitting Alexander County. As many as 14 possible tornadoes were reported across Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, according to the weather service.
Parts of western North Carolina, already soaked by rain not directly associated with Fred, braced for more rainfall through early Wednesday. Transylvania County, south of Asheville, declared a state of emergency after 10 inches fell Monday, causing landslides, flooding roads and destroying at least one home.
Part of Interstate-40 in Haywood County was closed earlier Tuesday by debris from a mudslide.
Transylvania County Chairman Jason Chappell, a lifelong resident, said it was the most intense flooding he’s seen in at least 20 years, and that he fears more damage to come. Floodwaters swamped a local factory Monday with several inches of water and damaged its parking lot.
“It really caught everyone off guard,” Chappell said. “No one was forecasting that amount of rain.”
With Fred blowing in Tuesday, National Weather Service meteorologist Ashley Pratt said Haywood, Transylvania and Jackson counties are likely to get the most rain, including another 6 to 8 inches in Transylvania.
Flooding was reported throughout Transylvania County, Haywood County, and Buncombe County.
The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office is urging residents along the Pigeon River to seek higher ground immediately.
Emergency shelters have been opened in Waynesville and Canton:
- Tuscola High School on Tuscola School Road, Waynesville
- Canton First Baptist on Academy Street, Canton
One of the region’s major attractions, Grandfather Mountain State Park, closed on Monday. The North Carolina state park’s website said “trails are flooded and the water at stream crossings (is) dangerously high.”
At least six apparent tornadoes touched down in Georgia: One hit Americus, in the southwestern part of the state, damaging at least a dozen homes and an apartment complex. One hit Jeffersonville, near Macon, tearing metal siding off a sporting goods warehouse, knocking over a semitruck trailer and tossing around small boats, according to the National Weather Service. One destroyed a mobile home in Banks County, northeast of Atlanta, officials reported.
Heavy rains drenched parts of metro Atlanta just before dawn Tuesday, snarling commutes.
One weather station near Panama City, Florida, recorded almost 9 inches of rain in two days.
WSPA-TV contributed to this report