Dam failure could flood Lynchburg with 17 feet of water

Emergency evacuations ordered over dam burst fears

Emergency evacuations ordered over dam burst fears

The city of Lynchburg is the closest settlement downstream of the structure.

People are evacuating from Blackwater Creek Trail in Lynchburg because the College Lake Dam may fail. If a complete failure of the dam occurs, the water depth at Lynchburg could exceed 17 feet in 7 minutes.

The Lynchburg Sheriff's Office has opened an area auditorium for evacuees - including pets - to spend the night.

County officials reported the dam's "imminent failure" at around 9:30 p.m.

To assist with this project, Lynchburg College gave a piece of its land to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the construction of an earthen dam which impounded Blackwater Creek and created College Lake on the property of then Lynchburg College.

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

"An updated report issued just after midnight by the NWS said the dam has not failed, and is being closely monitored by emergency personnel for any signs of structural failure". It said that up to 18 inches of water from the lake overflowed onto a road and into a nearby creek.

A flash flood warning has been issued and residents in the area have been told to move to higher ground immediately.

"Three to six inches of rain has fallen across the area since Sunday afternoon with the heaviest falling in the towns of Timberlake and Forest".

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