(CNN) — The Oktibbeha County Lake Dam in eastern Mississippi is in imminent danger of failing and officials are warning residents to be ready to leave, county emergency management Director Kristen Campanella said Tuesday.
Conditions at the dam, 100 miles northeast of Jackson, had worsened by an 11 a.m. (12 p.m. ET) inspection.
“There is a high probability of failure,” the National Weather Service office in Jackson said.
The alert for residents is at the warning level, Campanella said; if it gets to the emergency level, authorities would order evacuations.
If the dam breaks, about 250 people would have to evacuate and more than 17,000 acres could be flooded, Campanella told The Dispatch newspaper of Starkville in September.
Campanella said that every time it rains they watch the dam, which is in need of repairs that the county has not been able to secure funds for the past several years.
Oktibbeha County District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard told The Dispatch a project to fix the problem could cost up to $8 million.
Officials are expecting half an inch or more of rain Tuesday and possibly Wednesday, Campanella said.
The weather service in Jackson said there is a flash flood emergency for northern Okitbbeha County and south central Clay County.
It urged people to move to higher ground.
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