Residents near Georgia reservoir evacuated after dam overflows

Rosana Hughes, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Weather News

ATLANTA — People who live in the Heads Creek Reservoir area of Spalding County, Goergia, were evacuated Monday as a precaution after the dam began to overflow due to heavy rainfall in a short amount of time, according to officials.

The dam has been undergoing improvements since July 2022, which included building a new spillway structure. Initial reports stated that the dam was at risk of failure, but that was not true, said Glenn Polk, the county’s emergency management director.

On Monday, water began flowing around the barricades put in place to allow for construction, he said. That led to enacting their emergency management plan as a precaution.

“We did not have a dam breach, we did not have a dam failure. We only had overflow of a lot of rainfall that we received in a short amount of time,” he said.

The sheriff’s office closed roads to traffic entering the area and started evacuating residents around 9 a.m. By the afternoon, Polk said residents were being asked to shelter in place and about 40 properties had been identified as being at risk for flooding. Those homeowners had been personally notified.

“This is to ensure the safety of our community as we have experienced 7 inches of rain with more coming,” county Manager Steve Ledbetter said.

The widespread heavy rain and severe storms pummeled areas in central west Georgia and the south side of metro Atlanta just a day after a radar-confirmed tornado decimated parts of Troup County.


Storms moved in from the west Monday morning, with severe thunderstorm watches and warnings popping up across areas southwest of the city as pockets of strong weather passed through. Northern areas stayed mostly dry.

The storms brought heavy rain and lightning, along with damaging winds and hail in some areas. For the city, flash flooding and standing water was the main threat.

The severe storm risk diminished by 10 a.m. Temperatures have warmed into the mid-to-upper 70s Monday afternoon.

Tuesday will be quieter weather-wise, with only a 20% chance of rain, according to the forecast. It’ll be partly cloudy Tuesday, and mostly sunny for the next couple of days.

A small chance of showers returns to the forecast by Friday, with more thunderstorms expected to kick off the weekend.


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