Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Smokies national park: $953M in 2018 local visitor spending
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – A National Park Service report says that visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park spent $953 million in communities near the park last year.
A park news release says the spending came from the 11.4 million visitors to the park in 2018. The spending supported more than 13,700 jobs in the local area.
The numbers are included in a peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service.
According to the report, there was $20.2 billion spent directly in communities within 60 miles of a national park in 2018 by more than 318 million national park visitors.
RIP CURRENT RESCUES-NORTH CAROLINA
14 rescued from rip currents on southeastern NC coast
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (AP) – The National Weather Service says at least 14 people have been rescued from rip currents on the southeastern North Carolina coast.
News sources report 10 of the 14 rescues on Memorial Day were at Carolina Beach and the other four were at Wrightsville Beach.
The rip current risk for the two beaches was listed as high on Monday.
There have already been two deaths on the North Carolina coast during the long weekend, and rip currents were believed to be a factor in each drowning.
Ocean Isle Beach deck collapses, several injured
OCEAN ISLE BEACH, N.C. (AP) – A deck has collapsed at a home in Ocean Isle Beach, injuring several people.
Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Sloane Smith tells news outlets that the incident occurred Monday afternoon. Smith says she was told a group of people had gathered on a set of stairs for a photo when the structure gave way.
Smith says several people were taken to a hospital, including some who were air-lifted. The severity of the injuries was not immediately clear.
Heat wave before summer even starts grips Deep South
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A scorching heatwave weeks before summer starts continues in the Deep South.
High temperatures were at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius) on Sunday in Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina; Fayetteville and Wilmington in North Carolina; Savannah and Macon in Georgia; and Gainesville, Florida.
All those cities tied or broke daily records and several haven’t seen a hotter day in May since records were kept.
The heat will continue at least through the middle of the week.
But National Weather Service meteorologist Michael Emlaw in Charleston says the record hot May doesn’t mean the whole summer will be unusually hot. One key to cooling things off would be heavy rains. Unfortunately, none are in the seven day forecast.
Pender County in southeast North Carolina has already declared a water shortage emergency.
This story has corrected the day of the week of the 100 degree temperatures to Sunday.
ATV RIDERS KILLED
3 ATV riders killed in Tennessee, 1 injured
JACKSBORO, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee authorities say three ATV riders from North Carolina were killed when their vehicle fell down an embankment through thick brush.
Media outlets report a fourth person was found injured by emergency responders. The Campbell County Sheriff’s office said Monday the injured minor was airlifted to a Knoxville hospital. His condition was not immediately known.
The crash occurred Sunday in the area of a privately owned, off-road adventure park that offers riding trails.
Authorities have identified the dead as 47-year-old Ronnie Akins, 19-year-old Dillon Akins and 19-year-old Jonathan Laws, all of Weaverville, North Carolina.
The sheriff’s office says the ATV left a trail and fell more than 100 feet (30 meters). Rescuers had to cut through thick brush and trees to reach the crash site.
LAKE DROWNING-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina man drowns while swimming in lake
SYLVA, N.C. (AP) – Sheriff’s deputies in North Carolina say a 21-year-old man has drowned in a lake.
WLOS-TV in Asheville reports the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is citing friends and bystanders who said Marquise Maurice Dukes of Harmony jumped off a fishing pier around 7 p.m. on Sunday and attempted to swim back to a designated swimming area at Lake Glenville.
One witness attempted to help Dukes, but couldn’t get him back to shore. The witnesses said Dukes became distressed and went under the surface.
Rescue divers from Henderson County located Dukes’ body and recovered it from the lake around 11:42 p.m.
DRY CONDITIONS-NORTH CAROLINA
Water saving measures posted for southeastern North Carolina
Portions of southeastern North Carolina are being listed as abnormally dry, and a water shortage emergency has been posted for one county in the area.
Pender County Utilities issued the emergency for the Hampstead and Scott’s Hill areas until further notice. A news release says available water in the two towns is at reduced levels, which could result in low system pressures and loss of service. Residents are banned from all non-essential causes of drinking water, and garden and landscape irrigation must be reduced to the minimum necessary.
In Brunswick County, public utilities officials issued a statement asking customers to use water wisely, citing dry conditions and the increase in tourism during the Memorial Day weekend. The county will be considering instituting water conservation measures on Tuesday.
FATAL HOUSE FIRE
North Carolina woman killed, 3 hurt in weekend house fire
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in a North Carolina city say a woman was killed and three others were hurt in a house fire.
Winston-Salem Fire Department Battalion Chief Aaron Noah tells the Winston-Salem Journal that the fire on Sunday morning was caused by unattended cooking, and that there were no working smoke detectors in the home.
The woman’s name isn’t being released pending family notification. Noah didn’t have the medical conditions of the other three people taken to the hospital, but said he didn’t think their conditions were life-threatening.
Noah says the house appears to be a total loss.