Dalewood Dilemma

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The water level at Dalewood Lake caused concern for officials late Tuesday because of pressure on the dam and possible damage to adjacent property at Lauderdale that could be flooded from too much water crossing the spillway.

Clarence Butler, director of the Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency, told NewsCenter 11 Wednesday that it had appeared there could possibly be some undermining of the concrete portion of the Dalewood Dam by high water.

A 48-inch valve, installed when the dam was built as a safety factor, was opened to lower the level of the lake. The amount of runoff water in the creek below was the problem, he said, not the dam.

"Upon adding that much extra water to it, the decision was made to try to evacuate the people below the dam in that area up to York Road and try to make sure that nothing happened to those people," said Butler. "It was strictly a safety thing for them. They were asked to leave and told provision would be made for them through the Red Cross for last night."

"We asked them to leave but there's no way you can make anyone leave their home," said the LEMA director. He added there is no longer a problem at Dalewood.

"As of around 9:30 or 10:00 this morning the roadway across the dam has been opened back up and the people can return back to their homes now because we feel like everythings going to be safe," Butler said.

Butler said the level of the creek below the dam has actually fallen as much as a foot and a half.

"Water has basically gone out of most all of Lauderdale County. It is gone," said Butler. "The south part of the county was hit mostly yesterday and I think overnight I have had no reports this morning of any flooded areas anywhere."

For safety's sake, Butler said the Dalewood dam would be re-inspected later this week.