Florence flooding puts dams, many high hazard, to the test

Devastating flooding in North Carolina in the aftermath of Florence has raised concerns whether dams across the state, some of them in poor condition, will be able to hold up under the strain.

State officials have been monitoring dam safety in cooperation with local authorities and say there has been at least one dam breach so far, with no homes affected. But there have been several other locations of concern.

According to data obtained by The Associated Press from the National Inventory of Dams, the state has 1,445 dams rated high hazard out of about 5,700 dams, ranging from large federally owned ones to small private ones. That hazard classification doesn’t indicate the likelihood of failure — just that any failure would likely cause the loss of one or more lives.

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