RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is declaring in a state of emergency for mountain counties affected by a landslide triggered by heavy rains earlier this month.
McCrory signed an executive order Wednesday for an emergency declaration covering Graham, Jackson and Swain counties and areas within the Qualla Boundary of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee.
A Jan. 15 landslide demolished a 200-foot section of U.S. 441, which goes through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Also known as Newfound Gap Road, the highway is the primary road link between Cherokee, N.C., and Gatlinburg, Tenn., carrying more than 2 million visitors a year.
McCrory's declaration enables the state and local governments to seek federal emergency assistance and reimbursement for costs incurred as a result of the slide.