Evacuations underway in Lynchburg, heavy rain may cause dam to fail

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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.

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

She said the plan next was to open a 3-foot by 3-foot sluice in order to lower reservoir levels to make it more safe.

A flash flood warning issued Thursday night by the NWS reports "if a complete failure of the dam occurs, the water depth at Lynchburg could exceed 17 feet in 7 minutes". The dam has been under survey by the city for years as a safety hazard.

Several roads already were flooded or closed at that time, with local fire and police departments sending out boats and squads to rescue people.

The Lynchburg Sheriff's Office says the E.C. Glass High School auditorium is available for any residents who are evacuating their homes.

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The dam was built in the early '30s and, like many dams in the US, doesn't meet current safety standards.

Lynchburg Water Resources is working with the University of Lynchburg to deal with this situation.

But there was good news on Friday as engineers examined the dam and said it survived in good shape.

The City of Lynchburg has created an interactive map to see if you're in a potential flooding area should the College Lake Dam fail. The lake behind it is filled with silt, which complicates potential solutions - if they removed the dam, for instance, they would need to ensure that the silt didn't cause other problems downstream.

It's a problem with fresh urgency. But the crew monitoring the dam last night raised concerns about structural integrity after just about six inches of rain.

City officials said they found no seepage Friday and the dam was considered stable.

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