HOPE MILLS, N.C. (AP) - An earthen dam in a subdivision broke under the pressure of a rain-swollen lake early Tuesday, a day after high water breached a dam in a neighboring county.
A Hoke County 911 dispatcher confirmed the 5 a.m. break in the dam at McLaughlin Lakes subdivision on Rockfish Creek but couldn't provide details.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning early in the day for western Cumberland County and eastern Hoke County as torrential rains fell before dawn.
Even before the dam broke Tuesday, emergency officials had warned people in the subdivision's 100 homes to evacuate because the dam was eroding as water went over the top.
On Monday, a municipal recreation lake dam in the town of Hope Mills burst after a floodgate got stuck, prompting the evacuation of about 40 houses and a rest home.
The dam on Hope Mills Lake, a recreational body in this town of about 11,000, broke about 10 a.m. Monday, said Doc Nunnery, Cumberland County emergency services director. The dam is about three miles from the one that burst Tuesday.
Officials said yet another dam on Lake Upchurch in Hope Mills was stressed because of high water.
Police officers went to the homes and the Happy Valley Retirement Center to direct people to leave.
Most of the rest home's 30 residents are ambulatory and the water was unlikely to reach them, but officials "didn't want to take any chances," Nunnery said.
Traffic in and around Hope Mills, home to many people who are stationed at nearby Fort Bragg, was snarled because of roads that were blocked by high water.
"Right now, it's a mess," said Tammy Johnson, adding that it took 1 1/2 hours to get to work in Hope Mills instead of the routine 35-minute commute.
"It's bumper to bumper. Just a straight line," she said.
Rain had drenched areas of eastern North Carolina for days. In Fayetteville, about 10 miles north of Hope Mills, the weather service recorded about 3 inches of rain in the 24 hours ending Monday morning.
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