Tropical Storm Eta hits North Carolina with deadly flooding
Tropical Storm Eta, which was once a, is dumping heavy rain on the Carolinas and Virginia. Homes and roads are flooded and bridges have buckled, at least four people are dead and while dozens have been rescued, several remained unaccounted for.
The fast rising waters killed at least three people at a campground in North Carolina’s Alexander County, and a boy died in a swollen creek in a different part of the state. More than two dozen were rescued from the Hiddenite campsite, but rescuers were still racing against the clock Thursday evening to try to find two people missing, including a one-year-old baby, both of whom were presumably swept away by flooding.
A boy, whose age was not confirmed, died in a flooded creek near his home in Rolesville, The News & Observer reported, citing police. Some parts of the Carolinas saw 3 to 7 inches of rainfall.
The heavy rain and flooding that engulfed the state washed out bridges littered with abandoned cars, causing mudslides and road accidents and leaving many families stranded. In one instance, a WJZY news reporter was live on camera when the bridge she was on started to collapse.
The water rose so fast that one North Carolina elementary school’s parking lot was completely submerged, destroying cars and forcing the evacuation of 143 people.
“Approximately 50 roadways across the county have been compromised with four bridges that have washed away,” said Doug Gillespie, the director of public services for Alexander County.
Eta battered Latin America and then Miami earlier this week, then hit the Tampa area overnight, where the storm washed boats ashore.
Although it was not the most powerful storm to hit the U.S. this year, Eta still had a broad impact across the South and was linked to at least one death in the Tampa Bay region.
With very little time to prepare or warning of the strength of the storm, families caught in Eta were left with an uncertain future.
“It blows your mind that there’s someone you love and they are lost in the water,” one North Carolina resident said.
The storm was expected to push back off the eastern seaboard late Thursday into Friday and dissipate.