Authorities Monitor Dam as Flooding Hits Lynchburg Area

Emergency evacuations ordered over dam burst fears

The service says a failure of the College Lake Dam could flood parts of Lynchburg with 17 feet (5 metres) of water in just seven minutes. Twelve to 18 inches of water are flowing over Lakeside Drive into Blackwater Creek.

Local outlet WDBJ7 said a number of people whose homes were deemed to be at risk had been evacuated to nearby schools, along with their pets.

The fear of widespread flooding was triggered by a deluge in rain-soaked Virginia that brought up to 3 inches of rain in one hour to the Lynchburg area Thursday.

Scott Thomas, an engineer for the Department's Division of Dam Safety and Flood Plain Management, confirmed to TheBlaze on Friday that the dam upstream from Lynchburg was in compliance with the Virginia Dam Safety Act.

Parts of Lynchburg, Virginia, have been evacuated as floodwaters have compromised the integrity of a dam upstream.

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Water damage restoration and cleaning services have reported being inundated with calls for help from Lynchburg and surrounding area residents who have already returned to their homes. Since then, the city has continued to analyze the dam to determine how to move forward.

The National Weather Service, warning of the "dangerous situation", said early Friday that "runoff from Thursday's heavy rainfall will continue to cause flooding across the area".

Piper Van dePerre, with the Lynchburg Department of Emergency Services, told CNN affiliate WDBJ that crews are working with a list of 124 residences that need to be evacuated because of the imminent threat of a dam break.

A flash-flood watch was in effect through late Friday morning in Lynchburg, with 1 to 3 more inches of rain expected. The Virginia Department of Transportation built it in 1934. It is located in a critical position, according to the university, for capturing surface waters from multiple sources of the Blackwater Creek watershed just before emptying into the James River. The road, now USA 221, needed expansion and improvement. The original surface area of the lake was reported to be 44 acres and has been reduced to 19 acres due to sedimentation.

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