Tropical Storm Alberto has left a trail of deadly destruction across parts of the US with Virginia and North Carolina ravaged by landslides and floods and dams now perilously close to rupturing.
Remnants of Alberto, the first named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, are now pushing into Canada after heavy rains drenched the Southern Appalachians, claiming lives in raging flash floods, triggering mudslides and washing away bridges.
Since its Memorial Day landfall in the Florida Panhandle, Alberto’s heavy rains have been widespread, with flooding reported from Alabama through Tennessee, Kentucky, the Carolinas, West Virginia and Illinois.
Pipes and wires were left exposed on a road in Charlottesville, Virginia on Thursday after heavy rains from Tropical Storm Alberto left a trail of destruction in its wake
A parked car on Jefferson Street is swamped by floodwaters from Blacks Run after a strong afternoon thunderstorm in Harrisonburg, Virginia on Thursday
Connor Robins, 9, plays at the edge of floodwaters that wreaked havoc near Charlottesville in Virginia
In Virginia, flash flooding blamed on Alberto turned a peaceful creek into a roaring death trap as witnesses reported a man and woman were swept away when their car was washed off a road Wednesday night. Police say searchers found one of the victims Thursday and would resume searching Friday for the other still missing.
‘The streams are overflowing right now. Everything’s at full capacity, if not more,’ said Albemarle County Fire Rescue Chief Dan Eggleston, speaking at a news conference Thursday. He said he feared any additional rain would just make creeks and streams swell again.
Rescue crews are to continue searching Friday in and around Ivy Creek in Virginia’s Albemarle County, where a day earlier they found the body of one of two occupants of a Toyota Prius engulfed by the floodwaters. Farther north in Virginia’s Madison County, sheriff’s officials said rescuers are seeking a female reported missing in high waters there.
‘Ivy Creek is normally a very docile creek,’ Eggleston said. But he added it only took a downpour of 8 to 10 inches of rain before Ivy Creek ‘turned into a swollen, raging river.’
Emergency responders also carried out at least 10 other water rescues and received reports of damage to homes, the extent of which wasn’t immediately clear.
Throughout the stricken region, authorities posted photos of washed-out roads and bridges, and they warned people to avoid unnecessary travel. One photo posted by the city of Charlottesville showed a playground partially submerged by floodwaters.
In Virginia, flash flooding blamed on Alberto turned a peaceful creek into a roaring death trap
Water levels along the Rivanna Reservoir rose near the bridge on Woodlands Road in Albemarle County, near Charlottesville in Virginia on Thursday
Two people died after a home collapsed in western North Carolina after a landslide triggered a gas explosion
Fire crews arrived at the scene of the explosion to find two inhabitants had been killed in North Carolina
The incredible aerial images show streets turned into rivers of muddy waters by Tropical Storm Alberto
Cars and vans are almost totally submerged under the waters in Biltmore Village, Asheville, North Carolina
News anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer, who both worked for South Carolina’s WYFF-TV, died on Monday while on assignment in North Carolina covering Subtropical Storm Alberto
Storm Alberto saw heavy rains batter the state on Tuesday and Wednesday, causing local flooding and landslides
The Carolinas also were dealing with problems of their own from Alberto, which took enormous amounts of moisture aloft from the Gulf of Mexico and dumped it on the region from rain bands stretching for hundreds of miles.
In the North Carolina mountain town of Boone, one of those mudslides was blamed for a gas leak and explosion that destroyed a home Wednesday afternoon, killing two people.
Four North Carolina dams being closely watched by a state team of special engineers were holding up, Gov. Roy Cooper said midweek.
But Cooper went ahead and declared a state of emergency for his hard-hit mountain counties, saying the forecast for the rest of the week calls for isolated heavy rain storms that could instantly cause flooding in areas that have had 20 inches of rain in the past 15 days.
‘This storm isn’t yet over. I’m urging people to keep a close eye on forecasts,’ Cooper said.
Two deaths had previously been reported in the US during the storm’s passage.
A television news anchor and a photojournalist were killed Monday in North Carolina while covering the weather, when a tree became uprooted from rain-soaked ground and toppled onto their SUV, authorities said. WYFF-TV of Greenville, South Carolina, said news anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer died.
Authorities in Cuba say Alberto left four people dead there as the storm drenched the island in heavy rain.
Floodwaters pushed a 33,000-pound North Carolina Department of Transport truck into the Catawba River
A mudslide on May 30, 2018, caused damage to Chimney Rock Road in Rutherford County
A North Carolina dam that forced evacuations of more than 2,000 people after it was hit by a landslide is no longer in danger of collapsing
Asheville police have shut down portions of Biltmore Avenue in Biltmore Village due to rising floodwaters. Authorities warned locals to stay away from the area