Evacuations begin in Lynchburg, Virginia, over fears of dam break

04 August, 2018, 22:22 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Dozens of households have been told to evacuate

"The worst case scenario if that dam does breach, officials are anxious it might, is that water would go surging downhill into Lynchburg and it could drown that city in 17 feet of water in about 7 minutes". "We are developing a plan to stabilize the dam which may include opening the sluice gate at the dam to reduce the water levels".

In a dire warning Thursday night, the National Weather Service reported the College Lake Dam could fail, and if it does, "the water depth at Lynchburg could exceed 17 feet in 7 minutes".

Local fire and police sent boats to rescue people to area shelters, including E.C.Glass High School and Sandusky Middle School.

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In 2014, engineers began surveying College Lake Dam as the result of a study determining the dam could not handle the flow of water expected during severe weather conditions, creating a safety hazard for residents who live below the dam.

The city near the Blue Ridge Mountains has received plenty of runoff from recent rains, and 4 to 6 inches of rain fell in the area Thursday evening, filling College Lake beyond its capacity.

Heavy rains and flash floods have struck a wide swath of the country from the Carolinas to New England. 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.

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The dam doesn't meet current regulations and the city is making it a priority to find a solution. If you are in low lying areas below the College Lake Dam, you should move to higher ground immediately.

Since 2014, the City Council has been considering options for repairing or replacing the dam.

Crews know the dam is damaged but are working to figure out how bad it is. One touched down last night in the New York City borough of Queens.

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Gearing says they have never had a situation like this since the dam was built in 1934.

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