ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. — Four people are now confirmed dead, and a one-year-old boy remains missing, near an Alexander County campsite after heavy rain led to flash flooding across the Carolinas Thursday morning.
The body of a man was recovered Friday morning in Alexander County by Charlotte Fire Department crews assisting in the ongoing search and rescue efforts.
Search efforts continue Friday near the Hiddenite Family Campground, where more than 30 people were rescued from rising floodwaters at the campground Thursday. As day turned to night Thursday, the search for at least two adults and the child continued.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency as many parts of the state continue to recover from widespread flooding. Rivers in western and central North Carolina are expected to recede but the eastern part of the state is still prone to flooding due to the impacts of Tropical Storm Eta, which brought heavy rain to the coast.
“This storm has already claimed several lives, and everyone should exercise caution by avoiding flooded roads and areas along swollen creeks and rivers,” said Cooper. “Our prayers go out to the families and friends of those who were injured or killed by these devastating floods.”
Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman said search efforts will continue Friday as long as conditions allow crews to safely look for the missing victims.
One additional person died in a car crash nearby the campground due to a bridge outage and high water, a spokesperson for Alexander County said.
More than 30 people were rescued from rising floodwaters at the campground Thursday. At times, the floodwaters were as high as the houses' roofs, and multiple vehicles were fully submerged in the water. In total, there were nine water rescues performed by first responders in Alexander County. To donate to help those who were displaced, CLICK HERE.
"The water is still high, the rescue teams are still having a lot of trouble getting around," Bowman said. "This is a very unfortunate thing that's happened to Alexander County."
Bowman said multiple roads in Alexander County were damaged or washed out, with four roads being completely washed out, including Highway 16 at the intersection with Millersville Road. Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich tweeted a photo of the washed-out intersection.
"I was there all morning helping with traffic, and folks, even while I was standing there, we've seen people trying to go around the barricades," Bowman said. "These barricades are there for a reason. Not only for your protection but for your vehicle's protection."
A section of Cheatham Ford Road collapsed into the South Yadkin River as heavy debris got trapped underneath the bridge.
Adrian Campbell said the storm knocked out power to his house so he came to the bridge to help Duke Energy crews detour traffic.
He said he was amazed by the amount of water.
"I live here 39 years, and I never saw it this bad," Campbell said.
Sheriff Bowman expected it to be several months before all roads are repaired.
A Flood Watch is in effect until 7 p.m. for most of the WCNC Charlotte viewing area, including Alexander, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Burke, Rutherford, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan and Union counties in North Carolina. In South Carolina, York and Chester counties are under a Flood Watch until 7 p.m.