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NC Dam in Danger of Overflowing, Evacuations Ordered
The town manager of Hope Mills warned residents that Hope Mills Lake's water levels are rising quickly, and the dam won't hold if they receive a "catastrophic rain," The Fayetteville Observer reported. On Sept. 15, Town Manager Melissa P. Adams advised those living along the lake that they should temporarily move elsewhere if they can. "We strongly feel that action by you now is warranted,” Adams stated. “We suggest that if you have the ability to seek shelter elsewhere you should do so.” The people who should pay attention to the warning in particular are those who live near the lake—Main Street to Parkton Road and River Road, and anyone downstream. Adams wanted to reiterate that there was nothing wrong with the dam, only that its capacity to handle water is limited. “The dam is not going to hold back catastrophic floodwaters,” she said. “That doesn’t mean the dam has failed. It hasn’t failed.” A returning resident that was visiting Hope Mills said the water levels increased more quickly during Hurricane Matthew when there was no dam, The Fayetteville Observer reported. On Sept. 16, Mayor Jackie Warner felt relieved after the rain had stopped at 4 p.m. as the water levels in the dam stopped rising, for now. “Right now things are pretty stable,” Warner said. “Right now things are holding. The rains have stopped right now, so we’re in a good place.” Warner had made a 7:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew for businesses and hopes they will follow it. People shopped along Main Street on Sept. 16, a street nearby the dam. Since a lot of dining places and restaurants have closed down, people have flooded the drive-through services. Some local residents stopped by the dam to record videos and take photos of the fast moving water. Although everything is currently stable, Warner fears that “some people don’t see the danger.” Residents went as far as fishing at the lake, which the dam is connected to, before the police turned them away and others wanted to put a small boat in the lake. Adams said that the normal water level for the dam is 8 feet, but on Sept. 15 it increased to 10 feet. Warner said that town officials will monitor the dam and hopes that it won't overflow.