Officials in Virginia fear dam will collapse as heavy rain forces evacuations

Lynchburg floods: Flooding dam sparks evacuations in US city

Officials in Virginia fear dam will collapse as heavy rain forces evacuations

If a complete failure of the dam occurs, the water depth at Lynchburg could exceed 17 feet in 7 minutes.

More than 150 people had been removed from the possible path of dam waters, Luann Hunt, a spokesperson for the city of Lynchburg, told ABC News.

Lynchburg Water Resources spokesperson Jes Gearing says it's too early to order more evacuations, but there is concern that the dam will fail.

In Lynchburg, they are still a little bit anxious because there is rain in the forecast that the water will add to the water in the reservoir and put pressure on this dam. Officials are working to create a plan to keep the dam stabilized which may include opening the sluice gate to reduce the water levels.

"Although water levels have decreased, the threat for dam failure continues", and emergency personnel will check for signs of structural failure, the agency said.

The weather service issued a flash flood watch in effect until 6pm Friday, as additional showers and thunderstorms with heavy rain are possible.

Lynchburg floods: Flooding dam sparks evacuations in US city
Evacuations underway in Lynchburg, heavy rain may cause dam to fail

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

College Lake is a manmade lake, built in the early 1930s by the Virginia Department of Highways as part of the development of U.S. Highway 460, west of Lynchburg. The city owns the dam, but the university owns the lake.

Lynchburg, Virginia, is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, about 50 miles from Roanoke. Since then, the city has continued to analyze the dam to determine how to move forward.

The dam was built in the 1930s by the Virginia Department of Highways and is now listed among "high hazard dams" in need of fix in Virginia. The city of Lynchburg owns the dam and is responsible for its upkeep.

And every proposed fix would cost millions of dollars.

In 2014, officials launched an investigation to determine the safety of the dam after a city engineering study raised alarms that it posed a possible hazard to residents living downstream.

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