United States: Tropical cyclone Fred downgraded, 35 missing after severe flooding in North Carolina

Tropical depression Fred was downgraded after it caused plenty of misery in parts of North Carolina.

After causing heavy flooding in Haywood County, North Carolina, where authorities say 35 people are unaccounted for — the system sent rains towards New York and New England on Thursday.

The National Hurricane Center warned of up to 5 inches of rain. Flash flood watches or flood warnings were in effect for parts of New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Parts of western North Carolina are still reeling from Fred, which struck the area as a tropical depression Tuesday.

In Haywood County, west of Asheville, authorities started responding to calls about high water and soon had to help people from their homes, Sheriff Greg Christopher said.

Several people were located safe and reunited with their families on Wednesday, but several others were added to the list of unaccounted for throughout the day following the heavy flooding, officials said.

The Pigeon River in Canton, Haywood County, peaked at 19.7 feet, more than 9 feet above flood stage, a National Weather Service gauge shows.

“As the water level began to rise, a whole lot faster than I have ever saw it rise here in our county, we soon started to have to rescue people from their homes and provide additional assistance to our residents, and to our fire departments,” Christopher said.

Ground, aerial and swift water rescue teams were sent to areas hardest hit by the storm to start the search and secure process.