Mandatory evacuation still in place near Moore County’s Woodlake Dam

A look at Woodlake Dam on Oct. 12, 2016.
A look at Woodlake Dam on Oct. 12, 2016.

VASS, N.C. (WNCN) – Moore County residents near the Woodlake Dam werer still being told to evacuate Wednesday afternoon.

A look at Woodlake Dam on Oct. 12, 2016.
Click for more photos of the dam and Matthew’s aftermath

Thursday evening, officials further extended the mandatory evacuation. Hurricane Matthew’s heavy rains caused flooding that heavily damaged the dam.

Roads are blocked off near the dam, but about 70 people are still refusing to leave.

The hole in the dam was the size of car but has since grown to the size of two ambulances, officials said. Members of the National Guard spent hours on Tuesday putting sandbags in place to help secure it.

RELATED: Hole in Woodlake Dam size of ‘2 ambulances,’ Moore County official says

In the event of a breach, the reservoir would empty in about 30 minutes leading to communities downstream being flooded by two to three feet of additional water, Spring Lake officials said.

Many people are taking the evacuation notice seriously though, leaving home reluctantly, but with safety in mind.

For three days, officials in Moore County have been trying to get residents living near the dam out of harm’s way.

Michael Jones was already without power Monday night when he was visited by a sheriff’s deputy.

“I was asleep in the bed and we heard a pounding on the door,” Jones said.

He was told there was a hole in the dam, and it might not hold up.

“We didn’t have any lights so we couldn’t see, so we grabbed what we could. We couldn’t wait to find clothes because we didn’t know,” Jones said. “I thought at the time that the dam was breaking. You know, at the time I didn’t know.”

He’s been staying at the Moore County shelter with his two college-aged sons since.

Near Woodlake Dam, more people like Christine Torres are still evacuating.

“I have two sons and some animals, so we’re going to go where it’s up ground so we can be a little bit safer,” Torres said. “Get the most valued and important things out and you go and save your life.”

While Torres was getting out, others were trying to get back in.

But road blocks all around Surf Lake turned people away unless residents were going back for pets or medicine.

It’s unfamiliar and unsettling territory for many in Moore County.

Officials said 20 to 30 people are in the Moore County shelter and they will keep the shelter open as long as it is needed.

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