HAYWOOD COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – June 1 is the official start of hurricane season. While we aren’t on the coast, the western Carolinas can see major impacts from tropical storms and hurricanes.
Tropical storms and hurricanes that move in from the Gulf can bring severe storm outbreaks, tornadoes, flooding and landslides.
Last August, the remnants from Tropical Storm Fred moved through our area, bringing day-long tornado warnings to the Upstate and flash flooding to some mountain areas.
Canton and Cruso, located in Haywood County, N.C., were hardest hit, with more than a foot of rain.
In Cruso, this water built up fast enough to sweep homes down the fast rising Pigeon River, flooding areas outside of flood zones.
The flood wave swept through Canton soon after, destroying businesses and flooding homes.
The cleanup is continuing a year later as residents prepare for yet another potentially active hurricane season.
Canton Mayor Zeb Smathers said he’s confident that the rest of federal funds and help will arrive, but that the state and residents from around the nation poured in support by way of supplies and money.
Cruso resident Pam Heiler said her family is worried about future storms. She said they had to rebuild after Ivan and Frances flooded their home in 2004. Their home was damaged again by Fred.
The windflow against the mountains with these Gulf landfalling systems can magnify rain amounts, and any localized excessive amounts can quickly cause rivers, like the Pigeon River, to rise out of its banks and flood homes.
Mayor Smathers praised his citizens for their grit and grace, and asks the Carolina community in general for continued prayers.
He encourages anyone looking for a daytrip to visit the restaurants and shops along Main Street as residents continue recovery from Fred and work to mitigate future weather problems.