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The National Weather Service said a flash flood emergency was in place for McDowell County including the city of Marion, which is home to around 7,800 people, and Old Fort, which has a population of 900.

A North Carolina dam in danger of "imminent failure" Wednesday forced almost 2,000 people to evacuate the area, officials said.

"If you can't see the painted lines on the road, then it's too deep for you to drive through it", Yaussy said. However, Jones said an engineer who had inspected the scene was concerned enough to order the evacuation.

Residents in Old Fort, Pleasant Gardens and areas of Marion were also evacuated for flooding and landslides as rivers and creeks breeched their banks and threatened homes and lives.

But it brought heavy rainfall, drenching parts of northern Georgia, the western Carolinas and Tennessee on Tuesday, increasing the threat of flash flooding in those areas, the National Weather Service said. Mandatory evacuations were underway at 2 a.m. around the dam.

Richelle Bailey, spokeswoman for McDowell County's emergency management department, said state engineers were examining the dam on Wednesday morning.

"This is an extremely unsafe situation", the warning said. Jeremy Waldrop with the county's emergency management office said crews were able to take a closer look.

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Two people died Wednesday after severe weather caused a landslide in western North Carolina.

Radar showed rain extended as far south as the Gulf Coast, where the storm came ashore at the Florida Panhandle on Monday, to the Great Lakes region.

Alberto's heavy rains have been widespread.

Because of the flooding, schools were closed Wednesday in McDowell County, according to Fox Carolina. A Flash Flood Watch also goes into effect tomorrow morning through Wednesday morning for parts of the area. No injuries or structural damage have been reported.

The storm has killed two people in the state - journalists with WYFF, the NBC-TV affiliate in Greenville, S.C. Anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer were covering hazardous weather conditions in Polk County on Monday when a tree crushed their news van, the station reported.

Two people were rescued after a mudslide pushed a state Department of Transportation truck into the Catawba River in McDowell County.

More than 20 agencies are assisting McDowell County with emergency calls including those from Avery, Catawba, Caldwell, Mitchell, Mecklenburg, and Guilford counties, as well as NCDOT, SHP, U.S. Forest Service and N.C. Forest Service.


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