Dam safe from mudslide; mandatory evacuations lifted in western NC

Flooding at Swannanoa River

Heavy rains pummeled the western part of the state on Tuesday and Wednesday, causing mudslides, as well as forcing evacuations and road closures.

At least five people are dead since Alberto arrived in western North Carolina.

". this storm isn't yet over".

McDowell County Emergency Management confirmed 200 people from campgrounds and residential communities near the dam and lake were at shelters, and there may be more later since water levels were expected to rise.

The emergency declaration will help the state coordinate its response and "prepare for any additional impacts", the statement said.

As much as eight inches of rain fell in some mountain areas in a 24-hour period. The flash flooding threat continues for the next several days.

The National Weather Service said a landslide "has compromised [sic] the integrity of Lake Tahoma Dam".

She said emergency personnel were notifying people who are camping around Lake James, and going door to door warning those about the potential situation. The evacuation order is no longer in effect.




At 10:30 a.m., the mandatory evacuations were lifted, and officials deemed the dam safe. Later, the North Carolina Department of Transportation said the right two westbound lanes and the left eastbound lane remained closed, probably until Friday afternoon. We need the public to be a partner with us and do not go around barriers.

Cooper has announced a state of emergency for mountain counties, where flooding and mudslides are still blocking a number of roads.

Subtropical storm Alberto rolled ashore Monday afternoon in the Florida Panhandle before quickly weakening to a depression. A voluntary evacuation for Chimney Rock was also requested.

Residents were urged to avoid traveling unless they needed to escape from floodwaters.

Lake Tahoma is about 20 minutes northwest of Marion and roughly an hour northeast of Asheville. There's an area here in downtown Asheville, Biltmore Village, which is kind of known to flood with heavy rain. It is managing water releases from the North Fork Reservoir Dam. Search and rescue teams were deployed. Most outages were in Henderson, McDowell Cleveland, Buncombe, Swain and Transylvania counties.

State and local officials are keeping a close watch on rivers across western NC, where several rivers are now experiencing minor flooding and the French Broad River at Blantyre is forecast to experience moderate flooding later today. Scattered flooding was reported in several states from Alabama through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, the Carolinas and Virginia and West Virginia.

North Carolina dam teeters on the brink of failure after flash flooding.

Anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer of WYFF-TV, a Greenville, S.C. -based station, were killed Monday while covering the weather.

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