VASS, N.C. (WNCN) – The Woodlake Dam in southeast Moore County is at ‘extreme risk’ of failure Sunday morning under pressure from Hurricane Matthew flood waters, according to the National Weather Service.
Residents along Crane Creek and the Lower Little River are either being notified of the dam’s status or evacuated.
Widespread flooding across Cumberland County would be worsened by the dam’s failure, NWS said. In particular, areas near Manchester Road and Bragg Boulevard would see deeper flood waters.
If the dam fails, Fort Bragg, Pope Air Force Base and Spring Lake could experience flooding.
In 2014, the Department of Environmental Quality said the dam was classified as “high hazard” by the North Carolina Dam Safety Program.
A high hazard classification is given if failure could potentially cause death, damage to major roads, or more than $200,000 in economic damage.
North Carolina ranks second in the country for the most high hazard dams.
A CBS North Carolina investigation revealed the state had more than 1,400 high hazard dams in Oct. 2015. Only 40 percent of those had an emergency action plan on file.
But state law changed and dam owners of high hazard dams had until Dec. 31, 2015 to get their EAP to state officials.
High hazard dams are required to be inspected by the state every two years but its up to the dam owner to maintain the dam.