VASS, N.C. (WNCN) — Evacuations have begun in Moore County after “issues” were found at Woodlake Dam on Lake Surf, officials said.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning Monday night, saying that county officials assessed the dam as being “at risk of imminent failure.”
However, in an email, Scot Brooks, the county’s deputy director of public safety, emphasized that the evacuations are still precautionary, countering rumors that the dam had already given way.
“The Woodlake Dam has not breached!!!” he wrote. “We have dam safety staff on scene who have located a new issue and they have suggested that we evacuate residents downstream.”
Moore County emergency officials later said Monday night that an issue was found with two gates at the dam Monday afternoon, but that the situation was “stabilized.”
Officials said late Monday night that one gate was closed and the other gate was “in the process of being closed now.”
According to the National Weather Service, “A failure would result in flash flooding downstream of Lake Surf on Crane Creek with the surge of water eventually reaching the lower Little River.”
Anyone in the affected area should move to higher ground now, according to the weather service.
Areas at particular risk include those near Route 690, also called Lobelia Road, and near Cabins Creek Road and McPherson Road.
The Moore County Sheriff’s office said they are advising residents to evacuate south of N.C. Highway 690 from Morrison Bridge Road down to Riverbend Drive. Officials said that residents in Sinclair are not in the evacuation zone at this time.
Here is the full flash flood warning from the National Weather Service:
1:51 a.m. Tue., Oct. 11, 2016
The National Weather Service in Raleigh has extended the
Flash Flood Warning for a dam failure in east central Moore County in central North Carolina…
North central Hoke County in central North Carolina…
Northwestern Cumberland County in central North Carolina…
Until 8 a.m. Tuesday
At 1:46 a.m. county officials in Moore County report that the Woodlake Dam on Lake Surf just southeast of Vass remains at risk of imminent failure. A failure would result in flash flooding downstream on Crane Creek with flood waters eventually reaching the Little River. Evacuations are ongoing. Move to higher ground now.
Locations particularly at risk include areas near North Carolina Highway 690 or Lobelia Road…Cabins Creek Road and McPherson Road.
Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize the dangers of flooding.”
The Town of Spring Lake issued an immediate mandatory evacuation order to residents and businesses along the Lower Little River downstream from the dam on Monday night.
The areas included in the mandatory evacuation include Bragg the Estates community on Vass Road, residents on West Manchester Road from the old Fort Bragg Water Treatment Plant to N.C. Highway 87, and the Riverside Mobile Home Park along the Lower Little River in Spring Lake.
According to a press release from the Town, communities downstream from the dam could see two to three feet of additional flooding.
Brooks said that crews worked until about 2 a.m. Tuesday to get sandbags in place to reduce the threat at the dam. Brooks said crews would be out again later Tuesday morning to finish. He said the work will need to be inspected before residents can return home.
Brooks said he doesn’t know how quickly that inspection can occur.