Mandatory evacuations in McDowell County were lifted after nearly ten hours Wednesday morning after engineers deemed the Lake Tahoma dam was safe following a mudslide.
Around 12:30 a.m. officials ordered all residents living below Lake Tahoma to evacuate. Just after 10 a.m. the evacuation order was lifted.
Emergency Management officials said water was spilling around the sides of the Lake Tahoma dam and a landslide occurred on one side of the the dam, prompting a level one emergency. The dam was not breached and engineers determined it was safe.
Officials ordered people in the following areas to evacuate: Lake Tahoma Rd from Lake Tahoma south to US 70 West Toms Creek Rd from NC 80 to Morgan Lake Rd. Tom Johnson Camping Center Old Greenlee Rd from Crane Resistoflex Rd to Water Filter Plant US 70 West from PG Fire Department to North Main Street All residences along the Catawba River from Tom Johnson to Lake James. This includes developments that border the Catawba River in the Hankins community. Riverview Acres of Hankins Rd Katydid Drive Lentz Rd Riverbend Acres off Hankins Rd Cross Creek Drive from intersect of Hankins Rd to the 300 block All locations along US 221 Business Garden Creek Rd North Main Street from Flick Video to US 70 W intersect Roby Conley Rd from US 70 W to 1300 Block Burnettes Landing Lake James LandingThree shelters opened across McDowell County for people who had to flee their homes.
Schools in the county were Wednesday due to the weather threat. Day classes are also canceled at McDowell Tech.
Emergency Management officials said there had been numerous landslides in the county, as well as moderate flooding in western and central communities
Four swift water rescues were carried out overnight.
The National Weather Service said this is the most significant flooding McDowell County has seen since 2004 since hurricanes Frances and Ivan impacted the area.
The flash flood warning will continue for McDowell County until 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.
According to the American Red Cross, a mudslide on Mt. Hebron Road near Big Hill and flood waters from Twin Lakes compromised an apartment complex, which had to be evacuated.
Additional evacuations took place at Catawba Falls, Riverbreeze and Deerfield campgrounds, as well as part of the town of Old Fort and various other structures along Catawba River and Buck Creek.
Emergency Management officials said flash flooding was also occurring in these areas Wednesday morning: North Cove School Rd off US 221 North Mt. Hebron Rd in Crooked Creek / Landslide Catawba River Rd - Flash Flooding NC 80 / Landslides US 221 Business at US 70 W - Flash Flooding Roby Conley Rd from US 70 W to 1300 block is closed - Flooding Timber Rd. off Nix Creek Rd. - Flash Flooding Parker Padgett Rd @ Stuckey's - Flash Flooding Oakdale Rd - Flash Flooding Mill Creek Rd - Multiple landslides End of Cannon Rd off Hankins Rd - Flash Flooding Old US 70 West in Old Fort - Water rescue in progress Henry McCall Rd @ Old Greenlee Rd - Flash Flooding I-40 reopens after landslide
Officials say, I-40 reopened in McDowell County Wednesday.
The interstate had been closed in both directions between Exit 66, Dunsmore Avenue and Exit 72, US-70 East (West Main Street) due to a mud slide.
Officials said some of the vehicles on the roadway were trapped after the landslide occurred. Thankfully, all of the occupants were able to get out and no injuries were reported.
Just before 5 a.m. officials said all lanes of the interstate had reopened and no additional problems had been reported.
Road closures due to flooding were also reported in other WNC counties and many areas were without power overnight.
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