UPDATE 5:50PM Wednesday – The body of a missing 5 year-old girl was recovered this afternoon near the Neuse River. Click here for the updated story.
JOHNSTON COUNTY – Torrential rains caused major flooding problems overnight in Johnston County. Hardest hit were the Smithfield and Four Oaks areas where an estimated 5 to 8 inches of rain fell in just a few hours. There was an isolated report of more than 10 inches.
A young mother was traveling with her two small children on a dark stretch of Galilee Road when her car was swept off the roadway by floodwaters. Emergency responders put in four rescue boats to locate the mother and children. Smithfield Fire Chief John Blanton said a rescue boat located the mother and one child and had just placed them in the boat when it capsized. Rescuers were able to save the mother. The child was swept away in the floodwaters.
Three additional rescue boats capsized while trying to find two missing children. All the first responders made it out unharmed.
A Highway Patrol helicopter responded to the scene Tuesday morning and began searching the area for the missing children. The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office also responded with a SHERP ATV to assist in the search. Johnston County officials are being assisted today by a rescue team from Wayne County.
The NC DOT says flooding closed numerous roads in Smithfield and Four Oaks overnight and also caused approximately 12 roads to sustain damage to the pavement or shoulder. They included two sections of Highway 301 near Four Oaks, NC 96 South, Galilee Road, Old Olive Road, and Keen Road.
Power crews are working to restore service to 1,300 customers who lost electricity this morning when a tree fell across a power line on Black Creek Road just outside the Four Oaks city limits. The tree brought down four power poles and the power lines. Officials estimate the outage should be completely restored by 4:00pm today (Tuesday).