Authorities in western North Carolina have ordered evacuations in an area south of the Lake Tahoma Dam, which they say is in "imminent danger" of failing after a landslide "compromised" its structural "integrity." The National Weather Service tweeted an urgent message:
MCDOWELL COUNTY UPDATE: A landslide has comprised the integrity of Lake Tahoma Dam. MANDATORY EVACUATIONS underway from the Dam at Lake Shore Dr to Lake Tahoma Rd (NC 80) to the confluence of the Catawba River near Resistoflex Rd and Riverside Park. ACT NOW TO PRESERVE YOUR LIFE!— NWS GSP (@NWSGSP) May 30, 2018
The National Weather Service also declared a "flash flood emergency":
McDowell county emergency management reports water is spilling around the sides of Lake Tahoma dam. Evacuations ongoing south of the dam. THIS IS A LIFE-THREATENING SITUATION. HEED ALL EVACUATION ORDERS IMMEDIATELY! If you are not threatened by floodwaters, shelter in place.— NWS GSP (@NWSGSP) May 30, 2018
Local officials said a "class 1 emergency" would be in effect until state inspectors could evaluate the dam in daylight hours.
McDowell County Emergency Management confirmed "several hundred" evacuations at numerous campgrounds and residential communities near the dam and lake, and there may be more later since water levels were expected to rise. Old Fort and Marion are the hardest-hit communities.
One evacuee tweeted an image from the campground he'd left:
WFMY-TV reports a mudslide in Old Fort forced the shutdown of a portion of I-40. Later, the North Carolina Department of Transportation said the right two westbound lanes and the left eastbound lane remained closed, probably until Friday afternoon.
WFMY says western North Carolina communities were on high alert due to heavy rains and flash flooding from .
Shelters were set up at two churches and a YMCA.
Lake Tahoma is a private lake in the mountains.
Evacuations have been lifted after a dam in western North Carolina was deemed structurally sound despite earlier fears that mudslides and flooding triggered by Tropical Depression Alberto could cause the structure to fail.
McDowell County Emergency Management ordered mandatory evacuations for all residents living below Lake Tahoma Dam along Buck Creek and along the Catawba River from Buck Creek and Lake Tahoma Road to the mouth of Lake James, based on the recommendation from on-site dam engineers. Water was reportedly spilling over the sides of the dam just after midnight Wednesday morning.