Haywood County Starts Its Recovery From Catastrophic Flooding

NCDOT workers assess damage to a bridge spanning the Pigeon River, Thursday in Bethel, N.C., (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP)

By Sarah Ovaska

August 20, 2021

Five are confirmed dead after Tropical Storm Fred tore through Western North Carolina this week. 

This article was updated Monday, Aug. 23, to reflect the rising death toll.

Western North Carolina is reeling from some of the worst flooding it has experienced in modern history.

In Haywood County, the Pigeon River and various tributaries topped their banks when the remnants of Tropical Store Fred came through the area and dropped significant amounts of rain. Five people from the Cruso area died and authorities are still looking for one missing person, as of Monday.

The town of Canton, with a population of 4,200 and known for its historic paper mill, saw significant damage, with residents of the mountain towns digging through debris in their homes. In the unincorporated town of Cruso alone, there were 10-15 bridges damaged or destroyed, according to the Haywood County Emergency Services.

The Haywood County Emergency Services also released the names of those killed: Frank Lauer Sr., 74; Judy Mason, 73; Charlene Mungo, 83; Frank Mungo, 86; and Franklin McKenzie, 68.

Both US Sen. Thom Tillis and NC Gov. Roy Cooper came to the area to tour the damage.

Cooper issued a state of emergency after the storm and noted that the effects of climate change have left places like Haywood County vulnerable to extreme weather events.

“Storms are more ferocious than they were before,” Cooper said, according to The Associated Press. “Climate change has contributed to that.”

People in need of help after the storm can call a helpline at 828-356-2022.

Those looking to help the recovery effort in Haywood County can donate through

Helping Haywood.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


CATEGORIES: Uncategorized


Local News

Related Stories
Share This