Authorities Warn Ellis Co. Residents of Possible Dam Breach - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Authorities Warn Ellis Co. Residents of Possible Dam Breach

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    Hours after warning Grand Prairie and Midlothian residents about a possible dam breach near U.S. 287, authorities say they think the dam is fine. (Published Wednesday, May 27, 2015)

    After warning Grand Prairie and Midlothian residents about a possible dam breach that could cause flooding Wednesday morning, authorities say the dam is stable.

    Carl Smith, Chief of Police for the Midlothian Police Department, said late Wednesday morning that preliminary information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and area engineers indicate the dam on Padera Lake is structurally sound.

    Smith said the amount of water coming over the top of the dam overnight got the attention or representatives in the field who had been monitoring the lake for the past two weeks while the dam is being rebuilt.

    USDA officials warned the Midlothian Police Department about the possible failure of the dam, along U.S. 287 near Kimble Road, at about 1 a.m.

    Grand Prairie Fire Department Det. Lyle R. Gensler said, if breached, the dam could cause nearly 20 feet of water to spill across the road. Midlothian and Grand Prairie police contacted residents that might be affected and implemented a voluntary evacuation.

    Smith said officials were initially concerned about the amount of water being released early Wednesday and they evacuated recently flooded areas that may be impacted as a precaution. He added that as long as the dam doesn't suffer a catastrophic failure, water should stay in the creeks downstream toward Joe Pool Lake.

    "I'm concerned about it. But, again, I'm not an engineer.  So, we're going to lean back on them," Smith said.

    NBC 5's Ellen Bryan contributed to this report.

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