Parts of Virginia city evacuate over possible dam failure

Leroy Wright
August 6, 2018

The National Weather Service said up to six inches (15 centimeters) of rain fell within hours near Lynchburg, filling College Lake beyond capacity.

Later Friday, officials from the city said the inspection showed "the structure is now stable and that there is no immediate fear of dam failure".

Turner Perrow, a member of the Lynchburg City Council who is also a civil engineer, tells NPR that the dam presents "a complicated problem".

Firemen waded through flood waters on Thursday in Lynchburg.

"Although water levels have decreased, the threat for dam failure continues", and emergency personnel will check for signs of structural failure, the weather service said Friday morning.

Officials evacuated people from more than 100 homes in the city of 80,000. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

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Some of Lynchburg were flooded.

"For the first time in probably 50 years or more, the emergency sluiceway at the bottom of College Lake dam has been opened and the lake is slowly starting to empty", according to the statement.

Local fire and police were sending boats to rescue people and take them to area shelters. "This remains a unsafe situation". "Any additional heavy rainfall may create new flooding". In all, some 26 million people live where a flash flood watch is in effect.

Days of torrential rains have left a dam near Lynchburg, Virginia, at risk of "imminent failure", prompting evacuations in the area. It's 35 feet high and about 300 feet long. Twelve to 18 inches of water are flowing over Lakeside Drive into Blackwater Creek. "Once the water levels are lowered, then initial repairs can begin on the dam embankment and the roadway". The road, now usa 221, needed expansion and improvement.

Parts of that area saw three to five inches of rain in a three hour span.

Lynchburg, Virginia officials ordered evacuations Thursday in the area of Black Creek Trail over fears of the College Lake Dam will fail in the heavy flooding.

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