NC dam in "imminent danger" of failing, evacuations ordered

Up to 7 inches of rain caused flooding in Helen, Ga., around 10 a.m. Wednesday, the National Weather Service said. Officials closed Interstate 40 for a few hours Tuesday night after a mudslide by the Buncombe/McDowell County line.

Several rivers across eastern North Carolina are near or forecast to be near minor flood stage over the coming days.

Gordon Caulder, another resident of Hankins Road, didn't evacuate because of the Lake Tahoma dam concern. The evacuation order is no longer in effect.

Local and state officials said they are "closely monitoring" the dams at Lake Lure, Lake Tahoma, Lake Tuxedo and North Fork Lake and plan to send dam safety engineers to the areas.

Widespread flooding was reported in McDowell County, including along the Catawba River and its tributaries like Mill, Crooked, Nix, Curtis and Mackey creeks.

Tuesday night, McDowell Emergency Services declared the Lake Tahoma dam an "imminent threat" and ordered a mandatory evacuation for around 2,000 people. Emergency Management asked the McDowell County public to remain alert for additional updates, as additional rainfall was expected Wednesday afternoon.

A Flash Flood Watch was issued through 8 a.m. Thursday for all of Western North Carolina.

Deadly subtropical depression Alberto, the storm system that has been drenching the Southeast, has caused landslides, evacuations and flash flooding. We've heard from residents, especially business owners, here in Asheville that have seen flooding with these kinds of storms before. Most of the evacuees are staying in one of three shelters open in McDowell County; other shelters are open in Buncombe, Polk and Rutherford counties More than 6,500 power outages were reported across western counties, mostly in Henderson, McDowell Cleveland, Buncombe, Swain and Transylvania.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has been working through the day to assess damage and remove debris. A tree fell on their SUV as they covered the hazardous weather, the station said. Marion is about 36 miles east of Asheville.

As remnants of Subtropical Storm Alberto spread into the Great Lakes region, people were keeping a tired watch on dams and hillsides Thursday as rains from the storms have triggered floods and mudslides in the Appalachians of the Southeast. "This is causing significant and life-threatening flooding countywide".

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Tuesday that as Alberto's weakening system moves inland Wednesday, it still remains a potential menace.

NBC affiliate WYFF of Greenville, South Carolina, said news anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer were killed.

The incident marked the fourth weather-related deaths attributed to Alberto, which made landfall earlier this week as a subtropical storm and has since drenched the states in its path.

Hurricane season is set to begin officially Friday.

  • Joey Payne