Some residents along the Des Lacs River in North Dakota are refusing to leave their homes, despite the consequences.
Officials have warned homeowners to vacate ahead of a possible dam break.
About 30 houses in the small town of Burlington near Minot, in northwest North Dakota, were at a 'high potential' risk the aging dam would be washed out.
Nearly 200 people were advised to head to higher ground after the National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for the western edge of Burlington. They stated that a dam failure could result to nearly one-metre rise in the river.
Fire Chief Karter Lesmann says authorities can't make people leave their homes. Some chose to stay behind and pump out their properties.
With files from The Associated Press