Lynchburg residents evacuated as flood waters overtop dam

04 August, 2018, 00:31 | Author: Donnie King
  • Fast-moving flood waters near Lynchburg Virginia

In a dire warning Thursday night, the National Weather Service reported the College Lake Dam could fail, and if it does, "the water depth at Lynchburg could exceed 17 feet in 7 minutes".

Heavy rains sent water spilling over the dam, spurring fears that it could collapse, it has already prompted some home evacuations in the city of roughly 80,000 people.

This area is right near the University of Lynchburg.

Lynchburg Director of Water Resources Tim Mitchell said at a 3 p.m. news conference that the dam would continue to be watched around the clock.

County officials reported the dam's "imminent failure" at around 9:30pm on Thursday.

The NWS issued a flash flood watch for the area that lasts until 11 a.m. Friday.




The National Weather Service said up to six inches of rain fell within hours, filling College Lake beyond capacity.

Those whose homes are considered at risk due to flooding have been moved to temporary shelters, per the News & Advance, which notes some 5,200 residents of Lynchburg and Timberlake were without power Friday morning.

The dam at College Lake, adjacent to the University of Lynchburg, was built in 1934, according to the school's website.

"The good news is that the rain has stopped and began to recede yesterday, relieving some of the pressure on the dam", Major Tommy Carter of the Lynchburg Sheriff's office told Fox News on Friday, "but the bad news is that there's more rain in the forecast today and the dam has been weakened". The road, now US 221, needed expansion and improvement.

Given the condition of the dam and the state of the lake, Perrow says, the most likely "fix" isn't actually a repair - he says the city is likely to tear the dam down completely and replace it with a bridge. The city of Lynchburg owns the dam and is responsible for its upkeep.

"At this time, the dam has not failed and is being closely monitored by emergency personnel for any signs of structural failure", the weather service said in a statement.

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