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Cooper To Declare State Of Emergency For Western North Carolina

Gov. Roy Cooper will declare a state of emergency for western North Carolina because of severe weather caused by Alberto, according to a statement released Wednesday.

Heavy rains overnight prompted mudslides in several communities and closed portions of Interstate 40 in Asheville. The severe weather also triggered evacuations in downtown Old Fort, near Asheville, following concerns that the Lake Tahoma dam would break. Authorities have deemed the dam secure and the evacuation notice was lifted Wednesday morning, but Cooper said officials are closely monitoring dams throughout the state for safety concerns.

Severe weather and heavy rains will continue for the next several days, continuing the threat of flash flooding and mudslides. Cooper said the state of emergency will help the state coordinate ongoing storm response and preparation going into the week.

“This storm isn’t yet over,” Cooper said. “I'm urging people to keep a close eye on forecasts and flood watches, and asking drivers to use caution especially when traveling in our western counties."