Parts of Virginia city evacuate over possible dam failure

Arturo Kim
August 4, 2018

The Lynchburg Department of Emergency Services said areas near the dam were being evacuated Thursday night.

The National Weather Service in Blacksburg has issued a Flash Flood Warning for The Blackwater Creek below College Lake Dam in Lynchburg until 3:15 am.

Heavy rains sent water spilling over the dam, spurring fears that it could collapse, it has already prompted some home evacuations in the city of roughly 80,000 people.

Members of the Campbell County Fire Department wade through water at an apartment complex in Lynchburg, Va., Aug. 2, 2018.

It is unclear how many people were being evacuated.

A truck passes a partially submerged abandoned vehicle in Lynchburg, Va. during a thunderstorm, August 2, 2018.

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Overnight, city officials monitored the dam for structural weaknesses. Engineers determined that the dam's spillway was not large enough to handle water flow in the event of extreme weather conditions.

The Lynchburg Sheriff's Office says the E.C. Glass High School auditorium is available for any residents who are evacuating their homes. The area impacted would be the city of Lynchburg, which is one mile downstream from the dam.

Recommendations from the investigation called for either rehabilitating the dam or having it completely decommissioned. If you are in low lying areas below the College Lake Dam, you should move to higher ground immediately. More recent projections have placed the fix costs at $10 million. The city owns the dam, but the university owns the lake.

"Unfortunately", he said, "a lot of rain in a short period of time can cause this".

The dam was deemed intact Friday morning, CNN reported, although water has continued to cascade over the dam and into Blackwater Creek, which is two miles from downtown Lynchburg. "But [the dam] is in compliance".

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.

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