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5 dead, 1 still missing after historic flooding in North Carolina, governor issues state of emergency

Frank Lauer, Sr., 74, Frank Mungo, 86, Franklin McKenzie, 68, Judy Mason, 73 and Charlene Mungo, 83, were the victims of the flooding.
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 3:57 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2021 at 6:00 AM EDT
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HAYWOOD COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Five people have been confirmed dead while one person remains missing due to floodwaters from severe weather that swept through North Carolina on Tuesday, Aug. 17.

Frank Lauer, Sr., 74, Frank Mungo, 86, Franklin McKenzie, 68, Judy Mason, 73 and Charlene Mungo, 83, have now been identified and families notified.

Lauer, the fifth victim, was located on Sunday.

“I extend my deepest condolences to Mrs. Lauer and her family. We are holding the Lauer family close in our hearts, and are praying for them now in the time of their loss,” said Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher.

One person is still missing, and search efforts are still ongoing.

Five individuals have been confirmed dead — Frank Mungo, 86, Franklin McKenzie, 68, Judy Mason, 73, Charlene Mungo, 83,...

Posted by Haywood County Emergency Services on Sunday, August 22, 2021

In response to Tropical Storm Fred, Governor Roy Cooper issued a State of Emergency to activate the state’s emergency operations plan and waive transportation rules to help first responders and the agriculture industry. Officials say 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 with record flooding occurring.

Haywood County appeared to be the most severely impacted, where historic flooding happened along the Pigeon River.

More than 98 people were rescued from floodwaters in western counties. Several people were determined to be safe and reunited with their families.

More than 200 searchers set off on missions to continue searching home to home along the Pigeon River, clearing areas and making preliminary assessments of damage. There was significant damage to roads and bridges, especially in Cruso, with at least 10-15 bridges damaged or destroyed.

“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 the weighing of vehicles used to transport livestock, poultry or crops ready to be harvested.

North Carolina Emergency Management 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 were 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 worked to restore power after outages peaked at about 50,000 customers the night of Aug. 17.

Read the Executive Order.

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