McDowell County residents can finally return home after overnight evacuation

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McDowell County residents can finally return home after a flash flood emergency prompted an overnight mandatory evacuation for all residents living below Lake Tahoma. The evacuations were in place until 10 a.m. Wednesday. 

According to Emergency Management officials, water was spilling around the sides of the Lake Tahoma dam and a landslide occurred on one side of the the dam, prompting a level one emergency.

The dam has not breached at this time.

Related: CFD firefighters deploy to McDowell County following landslide 

Officials told all residents in the following areas to evacuate overnight:

  • Lake Tahoma Rd from Lake Tahoma south to US 70 West
  • Tom Johnson Camping Center
  • Toms Creek Rd from NC 80 to Morgan Lake Rd
  • Old Greenlee Rd from Crane Resistoflex Rd to Water Filter Plant
  • US 70 West from PG Fire Department to North Main Street
  • All residences along the Catawba River from Tom Johnson to Lake James. This includes developments that border the Catawba River in the Hankins community.
  • All locations along US 221 Business
  • Burnettes Landing
  • Lake James Landing
  • North Main Street from Flick Video to US 70 W
  • Garden Creek Rd
  • Riverview Acres of Hankins Rd
  • Katydid Drive
  • Lentz Rd
  • Riverbend Acres off Hankins Rd
  • Cross Creek Drive from intersect of Hankins Rd to the 300 block


Evacuees were told to seek shelter at the YMCA of Marion (near McDowell Hospital), Glenwood Baptist Church, and Old Fort Baptist Church. 

FOX Carolina reported a landslide compromised the integrity of the Lake Tahoma Dam. Inspectors continued to evaluate the dam during daylight hours. The evacuation order was in place until engineers determined the dam was safe and the incident stabilized.