"This is a life-threatening situation". Officials waited until the sun was out to determine whether that dam was safe - and that was determined to be the case by an engineer. Emergency officials order the evacuations because an engineer inspecting the dam was anxious it might break before officials could get a better look in the daylight.
Cooper has announced a state of emergency for mountain counties, where flooding and mudslides are still blocking a number of roads.
Gov. Roy Cooper will declare a state of emergency Wednesday for the western part of North Carolina, the governor's office said in a statement.
But Cooper went ahead and declared a state of emergency for his mountain counties, saying the forecast for the rest of the week calls for isolated heavy rain storms that could instantly cause flooding in areas already soaked by heavy rain in the past 15 days. A combination of swift water rescue and urban search and rescue teams from Greensboro, Mooresville and Charlotte are being sent to McDowell, Rutherford and Jackson counties to help with any potential rescues. She said about 2,000 people live in the evacuation area and there are about 200 people in shelters. We need the public to be a partner with us and do not go around barriers. They climbed out through a passenger window and stood on the side of the truck in the water until emergency crews got them to safety.
The community near Lake Tahoma, near Marion, was evacuated overnight after a landslide threatened its dam.
Deadly subtropical depression Alberto, the storm system that has been drenching the Southeast, has caused landslides, evacuations and flash flooding.
"The Town has had to repeatedly open the floodgates just to balance the continually rising river levels from the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge", Lake Lure said.
There is also a flash flood emergency in Marion, about 20 miles west of Asheville, where 4 to 6 inches of rain has fallen, CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen reported. The weather service also warned of "significant danger" from the flooding Wilson Creek in Caldwell County.
Burke and Caldwell County remain under a flash flood warning until 11 a.m. today and under watch conditions until 8 a.m. Thursday. "They are already at full pond and that much more rainfall entering the reservoir there could cause significant risky flooding". Later, the US National Center for Hurricane Tracking reported that the storm had eased.
A television news anchor and a photojournalist were killed Monday in North Carolina while covering the weather.
Florida, Mississippi and Alabama - the three states bearing the brunt of the storm - declared emergencies ahead of Alberto.
As much as eight inches of rain fell in some mountain areas in a 24-hour period.
This handout picture released by the Cuban News Agency shows a river overflowing its banks due to heavy rains associated with subtropical storm Alberto, on May 28, 2018, Sancti Spiritus province.