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Girl, man dead in North Carolina floods

Posted at 5:41 PM, Jul 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-28 17:47:21-04

By Janet DiGiacomo and Greg Botelho, CNN

(CNN) -- The body of a man swept away while swimming in a rain-swollen creek in western North Carolina was found Sunday, authorities said.

The body of a child who was dragged away by the swift currents was recovered Saturday evening.

The drownings happened after 4 inches of rain fell over five hours in North Carolina's Piedmont region, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency in Catawba County.

First responders stayed busy racing to save people stuck in fast-moving waters and closed dozens of roads Saturday because of major flooding.

Delilah Lovett, 10, of Charlotte and Juan Alberdi, 48, of Huntersville -- members of different families who were visiting the area together -- were both swimming in what is known as the "bathtub" on Wilson's Creek in Caldwell County around 6:15 p.m. Saturday, the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office said.

Rain, which had already stopped, raised Wilson Creek 2 feet above normal levels and created "very swift currents," according to a statement from the sheriff's department.

Kayakers found Delilah's body nearly an hour after she disappeared, it said.

Search and rescue crews found Alberdi on Sunday, about a quarter mile north of where they were first told he went into the water, according to LouAnne Kincaid, a spokeswoman for Caldwell County.

Catawba County officials reported 10 swiftwater rescues for residents needing help getting out of their homes and vehicles Saturday afternoon, said Mark Pettit, an emergency official in the county.

Some 52 roads in the inland county had been closed at that point, six of which might not see any traffic for as long as three months, according to Pettit.

Lincoln County -- which is just south of Catawba County and about 35 miles northwest of Charlotte -- saw 8 to 10 inches of rain in 12 hours, county emergency management spokesman Dion Burleson said.

First responders had done as many as five rescues by late Saturday afternoon, Burleson said, though things appeared to be on the upswing. The spokesman said the water rescue operation had been demobilized because waters were receding.