Lake Tahoma Dam in Western North Carolina Deemed Safe, Evacuations Lifted

Area of North Carolina affected by flash flood warning is seen in National Weather Service tweet                        National Weather Service  Twitter

Gov. Roy Cooper has issued a state of emergency for McDowell County as landslides, flooding, evacuations and the imminent threat of a dam break were reported Tuesday evening as heavy rains engulfed western North Carolina.

A landslide caused by heavy rainfall from Alberto increased fears about the integrity of the dam.

The National Weather Service said a flash flood emergency was in place for McDowell County including the city of Marion, which is home to around 7,800 people, and Old Fort, which has a population of 900.

McDowell County Emergency Management reported early Thursday that segments of United States 221 and United States 226 through that county have reopened, but NC 226A remains closed due to one of the mudslides. Officials are monitoring the dams and Gov. Cooper's office has said that water rescue teams from across the state are coming to the area to help if needed. Until then all residents living below Lake Tahoma are urged to evacuate.

And two two other people were rescued from a vehicle after mud slid across Interstate 40 at 10 p.m. Tuesday in McDowell County, reported TV station ABC-11.

Emergency management officials said 100-200 people total were under this evacuation.

Early Wednesday morning, the evacuation order was given following a landslide near the dam from the remnants of Alberto moving through the region.

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Authorities in Cuba say Alberto left four people dead there as the storm drenched the island in heavy rain.

At least five mudslides were reported in Henderson County blocking roads near the towns of Bat Cave and Hendersonville.

Engineers inspected the dam further in daylight.

NC Emergency Management said McDowell County has experienced the most significant flooding since 2004 during Hurricane Frances. "The emergency at Lake Tahoma has been canceled". We need the public to be a partner with us and do not go around barriers.

"Following more than six inches of rain overnight in many areas of Western North Carolina, numerous residents are without power this morning in the Lake Lure area, as many trees are down and roads blocked", Lake Lure said in a Facebook post.

The National Weather Service announced just after midnight Wednesday that water was spilling around the edges of the dam. There's an area here in downtown Asheville, Biltmore Village, which is kind of known to flood with heavy rain. These include Burnettes Landing, Lake James Landing (Paddy's Creek), State Park, and Mystic Landing. Flash flood watches and warnings were in effect for parts of several states from Alabama through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, the Carolinas and Virginia and West Virginia.

He said the state is mourning the deaths of Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer, two WYFF journalists killed when a tree fell on their vehicle, and Patricia Case, a woman killed in a mudslide.

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