Officials in Virginia fear dam will collapse as heavy rain forces evacuations

Glen Norman
August 4, 2018

According to the National Weather Service, the Lynchburg Water Resources Department reported 4 to 6 inches of rain earlier Thursday evening caused the College Lake Dam to fill beyond its capacity.

As water surged out of the College Lake Reservoir in Lynchburg, officials feared that the dam built in the 1930s might collapse - sending a monster wave downstream and flooding parts of the city under more than 15 feet of water.

Officials in Lynchburg, in south-central Virginia, pronounced an endangered dam as "stable and safe" Friday afternoon, hours after they had warned the dam faced "imminent failure".

A flash flood warning is now in place and 80,000 people in Virginia, USA, have been ordered to move to higher ground immediately.

Almost a hundred people have been evacuated from their homes in Lynchburg, Va., after an intense storm amid concerns that an aging dam might fail and unleash unsafe floodwaters.

The weather service said Friday that water levels have decreased but the "the threat of for dam failure continues".

The dam was built in the 1930s by the Virginia Department of Highways and is now listed among "high hazard dams" in need of fix in Virginia.

Since 2014, the City Council has been considering options for repairing or replacing the dam. The road, now USA 221, needed expansion and improvement.

"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 original surface area of the lake was reported to be 44 acres and has been reduced to 19 acres due to sedimentation. The school said it is open Friday, though its entrance on Lakeside Drive was closed.

Images and video posted on the city's Facebook page showed emergency workers rescuing families stranded in an apartment complex by boat.

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