Evacuation order lifted near Spalding reservoir after dam overflowed

Several inches of rainfall Monday morning forced residents to evacuate the area of a Spalding County reservoir as the dam began to overflow.

The evacuation order was issued at about 9 a.m. after water began spilling over construction barricades at Heads Creek Reservoir, an area already saturated by Sunday’s destructive storms. It was lifted eight hours later when state regulators deemed the dam safe.

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 the case, said Glenn Polk, the county’s emergency management director. Their emergency management plan was enacted 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,” Polk said.

The sheriff’s office closed roads to traffic entering the area and identified about 40 properties as being at risk for flooding. Those homeowners were 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.

Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com

Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com

The storms pummeled a wide swath of northern and central Georgia and prompted severe weather warnings as they rolled in from the west early Monday. Damaging winds, hail and flooding were reported in some areas.

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Several roads were underwater Monday in Troup County, where cleanup efforts were underway following a radar-confirmed tornado that decimated the West Point area. Five people were injured and more than three dozen homes were destroyed when the storm touched down Sunday morning.

At High Falls State Park near Macon, wardens with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources helped 10 campers evacuate when the Towaliga River began to overflow Monday. Another 25 campsites were asked to relocate as the water continued to rise, the state agency said.

A flash flood warning remains in place for areas surrounding the dam in Spalding County until 8 a.m. Tuesday, and several bridges are closed for inspection.

— Staff writer Chelsea Prince contributed to this article.