Evacuation order lifted; N Carolina dam is safe

Evacuation order lifted; N Carolina dam is safe

Evacuation order lifted; N Carolina dam is safe

The announcement follows heavy rains that slammed the mountainous area Tuesday and Wednesday, causing mudslides and forcing evacuations and road closures - including a portion of Interstate 40.

Officials had said water was spilling around the sides of the dam which triggered the landslides, according to FOX Carolina. To take precautions, there was a mandatory evacuation order issued and we saw about 2,000 people from downstream evacuated. McDowell County officials announced in a public alert just after 10 a.m. Wednesday the dam was safe and people could return home.

People living below the dam will also be required to evacuate the area. 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've heard from residents, especially business owners, here in Asheville that have seen flooding with these kinds of storms before.

"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.

Officials in McDowell County reported that widespread flooding was being caused by heavy rainfall of 4-6 inches over the past 24 hours. An eyewitness said they tried to help the woman but she was swept away by floodwaters. A voluntary evacuation for Chimney Rock was also requested. Authorities urged residents to seek higher ground immediately. "They are already at full pond and that much more rainfall entering the reservoir there could cause significant risky flooding". It is managing water releases from the North Fork Reservoir Dam.

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.

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In Buncombe County, a licensed care facility and mobile home parks were evacuated, according to the governor's office.

Flash flood watches were in effort for parts of several states from Alabama through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, the Carolinas and Virginia and West Virginia.

Heavy rain, flooding and mudslides in the mountains is not unusual - particularly in the springtime in western North Carolina. Later, the US National Center for Hurricane Tracking reported that the storm had eased.

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

More rain is expected to fall over the next few days due to the remnants of the subtropical depression Alberto moving through the Carolinas, resulting in the possibility for more flooding.

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