Tropical Depression Fred Causes Landslides, Leaves 25K Without Power in 2 States

Tropical Depression Fred caused landslides in North Carolina and left around 25,000 people without power early Wednesday mostly within the state and West Virginia, the Associated Press reported.

On Tuesday, Fred was responsible for as many as 14 potential tornadoes in the Carolinas and Georgia. In Canton, North Carolina, the water rescues of 13 adults and two children were reported by the New Hanover County Fire Rescue as floods hit the area.

Task Force 11 has made several rescues to include 13 adults & 2 children. @wectnews @WWAY @NewHanoverCo

— NHC Fire Rescue 🚒 (@NHCFR) August 18, 2021

The landslides in North Carolina shut down Interstate 19 through the Nantahala Gorge, North Carolina's transportation department said. Meanwhile, schools in Lincoln County, West Virginia, saw classes canceled because of high water brought on by Fred's rains.

As Fred moved into the Northeast, it touched Pennsylvania and became a post-tropical cyclone, the National Hurricane Center said. Upstate New York is now at risk of mudslides and flash floods due to the storm.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Flooding in North Carolina
Tropical Depression Fred caused landslides and left 25,000 people without power in North Carolina and West Virginia. In this photo, water floods Highway 12 as Hurricane Dorian hits the area on September 6, 2019 in Nags Head, North Carolina. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Tornado watches remained in effect for mountainous areas of Virginia and the Carolinas Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Fred moved north, well inland from the coastal areas that usually bear the brunt of tropical weather. One death was reported — a Las Vegas man whose car hydroplaned and flipped into a ditch near Panama City, Florida, hours after the storm moved ashore, Florida Highway Patrol said.

In North Carolina, where steady downpours swelled waterways and washed rocks and mud onto highways.

The National Hurricane Center said Fred's remnants moved into Pennsylvania by midday on Wednesday, and although the post-tropical cyclone no longer had much of a swirling center, it was still capable of spawning tornadoes and other dangerous weather.

Schools were closed and people evacuated along three rain-swollen rivers in far eastern Tennessee. "The areas around the Pigeon, French Broad and Nolichucky Rivers have become unsafe," said the order from Cocke County Mayor Crystal Ottinger, which was posted to Facebook late Tuesday by the Cocke County Emergency Management Agency. Four shelters were opened for people who needed a place to go.

A rescue team from the Wilmington area, which came from eastern North Carolina to help, performed the water rescues in the Canton area, New Hanover County Fire Rescue said on its Twitter feed. Photos posted by the team showed rescue personnel in bright yellow vests staging rafts with outboard motors at the edge of yards that were submerged with muddy water up to the front doors of multiple homes.

Transylvania County, North Carolina, declared a state of emergency after 10 inches (25 centimeters) fell, sending mud and rock onto highways, flooding roads and destroying at least one home.

Meanwhile, Grace became a hurricane after unleashing torrential rain on earthquake-damaged Haiti. Grace's sustained winds grew to 75 mph (120 kph) Wednesday as it moved away from the Cayman Islands, and was expected to strengthen before hitting Mexico's Yucatan peninsula Thursday morning. A hurricane warning was in effect for the Yucatan from Cancun to Punta Herrero, including Cozumel.

Tropical Storm Henri, meanwhile, moved toward the U.S. coast, and forecasters said it's now expected to become a hurricane by the weekend, path that's more likely to affect the northeastern U.S. states. On Wednesday, its top sustained winds were holding steady at 65 mph (100 kph), but the hurricane center warned that life-threatening ocean swells could affect East Coast beaches later this week.

Tropical Storm Fred
A car attempts to drive through flood waters near Peachtree Creek near Atlanta, as Tropical Storm Fred makes its way through north and central Georgia on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. Brynn Anderson/AP Photo