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Dams in Forsyth County

DamThere are 220 dams located in Forsyth County, 53 of those dams are rated “High Hazard” meaning that if a failure occurred there would be a probable loss of one or more human lives and property damage would probably exceed $200,000. Twenty-three dams located in Forsyth County are classified as having an “Intermediate Hazard” rating, meaning failure or disoperation of the dam would result in no probable loss of human life, but could cause economic loss, environmental damage, disruption of lifeline facilities, or impact the community in other ways. The remaining 138 dams are classified as having a “Low Hazard” rating, meaning that no human or property loss would likely be affected by dam failure. Losses for Low Hazard dams are principally limited to the owner’s property.

Winston Lake Dam failed on March 15, 1912, flooding Salem Creek and parts of Winston-Salem, especially affecting Main Street South of today’s Old Salem.  Stores were filled with water, a bridge was washed out, and a 700-foot-wide “pond” formed on Main Street, keeping streetcars from being able to serve the “Southside” of Winston-Salem for several days. Dam failure was caused by heavy rains and 12 inches of water overtopping the structure.

Future failure of one or more of the 53 high hazard dams in the county due to high rain precipitation, or other events, could result in significant damage to downstream properties and the possible loss of human life.  Make sure you are familiar with dam locations near and around your area and be prepared to evacuate if you are notified to do so. The North Carolina Dam Safety Program maintains an Inventory of dams located in North Carolina.

List of Forsyth County dams: ForsythCountyDAMS_Sept2013

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