INTERNATIONAL.- Mudslides triggered by the soggy remnants of Alberto forced evacuations below a dam early Wednesday and closed a highway in western North Carolina as the center of the storm lashed the nation’s midsection hundreds of miles away.
The heavy rains had stopped, at least for the time being in North Carolina, but Gov. Roy Cooper said several other dams could be in danger as rivers continued to rise. He sent a special team of state inspectors to check on at least four of them.
The inspections came after about 2,000 people were evacuated for several hours after emergency managers said the Lake Tahoma dam was in danger of “imminent failure” early Wednesday. Heavy rain triggered landslides at the dam and along Interstate 40, which was closed near Asheville.
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Engineers inspected the dam further in daylight and McDowell County officials announced in a public alert just after 10 a.m. Wednesday the dam was safe and people could return to their homes. Cooper declared a state of emergency in western North Carolina as foretasted heavy storms for much of the rest of the week could quickly bring the flooding and mudslides back. “This storm isn’t yet over. I’m urging people to keep a close eye on forecasts and flood watches, and asking drivers to use caution especially when travelling in our western counties,” Cooper said in a statement.
Some areas of the North Carolina mountains have received up to 20 inches (51 centimeters) of rain in the past 15 days. A town in northern Georgia was also dealing with flooding. Up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) of rain caused flooding to creeks and rivers in the city of Helen, Georgia, around 10 a.m. Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.