Lynchburg floods: Flooding dam sparks evacuations in United States city

Lynchburg floods: Flooding dam sparks evacuations in United States city

A warning from the National Weather Service warned that, if the dam fails, "the water depth at Lynchburg could exceed 17 feet in seven minutes".

All eyes are on College Lake Dam, just down from the University of Lynchburg in Virginia.

"At this time, the dam has not failed and is being closely monitored by emergency personnel for any signs of structural failure", the weather service said in a statement.

The nearest downstream town is Lynchburg, located about 1 mile from the dam.

A deluge of rain in Virginia has prompted hundreds of people living below an overflowing dam to be evacuated from their homes.

Local outlet WDBJ7 said a number of people whose homes were deemed to be at risk had been evacuated to nearby schools, along with their pets.

Flash flood warnings and watches stretch from Georgia to Maine. If you are in low lying areas below the College Lake Dam, you should move to higher ground immediately.

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 dam has been under survey by the city for years as a safety hazard.

The lake's ecosystem is degrading rapidly, the school reports, as it fills with sediment, nutrients and raw sewage, resulting in the rapid development of watershed and stormwater management problems.

There is some good news in the forecast: Following two weeks of relentlessly wet weather in the eastern US, a drier weather pattern will move in over the weekend and into early next week, AccuWeather said.

According to the City of Lynchburg, Lakeside Drive from Old Forest Road to Moorman Drive, will be closed until further notice. People wishing to enter the building for use the entrance on the Langhorne Road side of the building.

Turner Perrow, a member of the Lynchburg City Council who is also a civil engineer, tells NPR that the dam presents "a complicated problem".

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