Breathitt County officials order mandatory evacuations after reports of dam failure at Panbowl Lake

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Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 23:21:39-05

JACKSON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Two state inspectors are checking out the dam at Panbowl Lake in Jackson Tuesday evening after reports of a failure.

The dam is still intact but Breathitt County Emergency Management ordered mandatory evacuations for people living in the area.

Governor Andy Beshear says there have been around 1,000 evacuations. He says the Kentucky National Guard is also helping with evacuations by providing emergency transport for Kentuckians to a higher ground using high-axle vehicles.

Heavy rains have elevated the north fork of the Kentucky River, creating pressure that is pushing water through the dam that sits under Kentucky Highway 15 in Jackson and connects to Panbowl Lake.

"The corrective action that is being taken as we speak is to place sand bags in the area that has been eroded," said Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) Secretary Jim Gray.

Shelters have been established for people evacuated, including at Breathitt County High School.