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Two killed after landslide triggers gas explosion in flood-hit North Carolina

Two people have died after a home collapsed in western North Carolina after a landslide triggered a gas explosion.

Storm Alberto saw heavy rains batter the state on Tuesday and Wednesday, causing local flooding and landslides. Incredible aerial images, captured by a drone, shows streets turned to rivers and cars submerged under food waters in the flood-hit state.

The storm has claimed four lives since Monday, when two journalists from South Carolina-based CNN affiliate WYFF were killed in Polk County when a tree fell on their SUV while they reported on the dangerous weather.

On Wednesday, another two victims were found dead in the rubble of a home in Boone, North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, said Jeff Virginia, spokesman for Watauga County Emergency Management.

Two people have died after a home collapsed in western North Carolina after a landslide triggered a gas explosion (pictured is the rubble)

Last night, fire crews arrived at the scene of the explosion to find two inhabitants had been killed in the blast

Last night, fire crews arrived at the scene of the explosion to find two inhabitants had been killed in the blast

Video images posted to Twitter by the Boone Police Department showed an apparently charred home reduced to rubble.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency Wednesday for the western part of the state amid the treacherous weather conditions.

‘This storm isn’t yet over. I’m urging people to keep a close eye on forecasts and flood watches, and asking drivers to use caution especially when traveling in our western counties,’ Cooper said in a statement.

North Carolina has received up to seven inches of rain in the past 24 hours – on the already water logged ground after weeks of rain.

The rain has triggered evacuations, flattened homes and caused mudslides and flooding on interstates, highways and local roads. About 2,000 people were evacuated after emergency managers said the Lake Tahoma dam was in danger of ‘imminent failure’. However, officials have since stated that the dam appears to be holding.

Drone footage shows flooding in Biltmore Village, along the Swannanoa River in Asheville, North Carolina on Wednesday 

Drone footage shows flooding in Biltmore Village, along the Swannanoa River in Asheville, North Carolina on Wednesday 

The incredible aerial images show streets turned into rivers of muddy waters by storm Alberto 

The incredible aerial images show streets turned into rivers of muddy waters by storm Alberto 

Cars and vans are almost totally submerged under the waters in Biltmore Village,  Asheville, North Carolina

Cars and vans are almost totally submerged under the waters in Biltmore Village,  Asheville, North Carolina

The small town has been all but shut down by the flooding - as the residents are bracing for more flooding to come

The small town has been all but shut down by the flooding – as the residents are bracing for more flooding to come

Hundreds have been left without power in towns dotted all over western North Carolina, while Asheville has been forced to close its city schools and roads amid the heavy rains.

Flash flooding alerts will be issued if the rain continues.

Alberto was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone with diminished rainfall by the U.S. National Hurricane Center on Thursday.

Alberto has becomes a post-tropical cyclone as it attempts to exit northeastern lower Michigan, and a heavy rainfall threat is fading near its center, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory.

The system is located about 20 miles west south-west of Alpena, Michigan with maximum sustained winds of 30 miles per hour, the weather forecaster said.

‘Flash flood watches remain in effect for the western Carolinas, northwest Virginia, and far eastern west Virginia,’ the NHC added.

Storm Alberto saw heavy rains batter the state on Tuesday and Wednesday, causing local flooding and landslides

Storm Alberto saw heavy rains batter the state on Tuesday and Wednesday, causing local flooding and landslides

Floodwaters pushed a 33,000-pound North Carolina Department of Transport truck into the Catawba River 

Floodwaters pushed a 33,000-pound North Carolina Department of Transport truck into the Catawba River 

A trailer park in western North Carolina was flooded after rivers burst their bank and floodwaters flowed over the area

A trailer park in western North Carolina was flooded after rivers burst their bank and floodwaters flowed over the area

Flood waters reached more than a foot high in some areas as rain continues to batter the state

Flood waters reached more than a foot high in some areas as rain continues to batter the state

Drivers move past blocked off lanes of I-40 near Old Fort, N.C., Wednesday, after heavy rains from the fringes of Subtropical Storm Alberto caused a mudslide

Drivers move past blocked off lanes of I-40 near Old Fort, N.C., Wednesday, after heavy rains from the fringes of Subtropical Storm Alberto caused a mudslide

A mudslide on May 30, 2018, caused damage to Chimney Rock Road in Rutherford County

A mudslide on May 30, 2018, caused damage to Chimney Rock Road in Rutherford County

In central Virginia, a swift water rescue team was searching for two people who were seen being swept away by a flash flood’s torrent of muddy water Wednesday night, according to a news release from the city of Charlottesville. By early Thursday, there was no sign of the missing couple.

Elsewhere, four North Carolina dams being closely watched by a state team of special engineers were holding up, Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday.

Alberto, while still spinning like a classic tropical storm, has managed to make its way since a Memorial Day landfall in the Florida Panhandle to just outside of Chicago. Forecasters said it would still bring rain and gusty winds to the Great Lakes this week.

Alberto’s heavy rains have been widespread. Scattered flooding was reported in several states from Alabama through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, the Carolinas and Virginia and West Virginia.

In Hopkinsville, Kentucky, high winds and heavy rains gave Sherry Key a fitful night’s sleep.

Photos showed Biltmore Avenue in Asheville completely flooded on Wednesday after heavy rains

Photos showed Biltmore Avenue in Asheville completely flooded on Wednesday after heavy rains

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

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

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

‘I have dogs and they’re terribly afraid of storms, so they were on top on top me all night,’ said Key, an airport office manager.

The worst of the flooding was in the Appalachian Mountains. Up to 7 inches of rain caused flooding in Helen, a mountain town in Georgia, the National Weather Service said.

Atlanta station WAGA-TV reported that several roads near the downtown area of that German-styled tourist destination were shut down because of the rising water. No injuries were reported.

Authorities in Cuba say Alberto left four people dead there as the storm drenched the island in heavy rain. Interior Minister Julio Cesar Gandarilla said late Tuesday they died as a result of ‘recklessness’ during the storm. He gave no details. The deaths occurred as authorities worked to contain an oil spill in central Cuba’s Cienfuegos Bay that followed the flooding of nearby oil refinery.

 



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