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

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

Authorities have evacuated parts of Lynchburg, Virginia, in preparation of what county officials report as the "imminent failure" of the College Lake Dam.

Local fire and police sent boats to rescue people to area shelters late Thursday as some creeks were already feeling the overflow from the dam.

Lynchburg has a population of about 80,000 and lies in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Authorities near Lynchburg in the usa state of Virginia sought to evacuate more than 100 people after weather forecasters warned that heavy rainfall could cause a dam to fail and flood the city. A flash flood watch remains in effect for much of central and western Virginia, while central Lynchburg is under a flash flood warning.

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"Flood waters entering Blackwater Creek from College Lake will continue into Ivy Creek before entering the James River". Liberty University, the Christian university founded by Jerry Falwell, is also located in Lynchburg.

The dam doesn't meet current regulations and the city is making it a priority to find a solution.

"We are developing a plan to stabilize the dam which may include opening the sluice gate at the dam to reduce the water levels", the city said in a statement, adding those downstream should not see significant flooding if that occurs.

Because the sediment from the city's runoff is trapped above the dam, the lake has dramatically reduced in size.

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The dam was inspected last week, and they didn't find any cause for concern. More recent projections have placed the fix costs at $10 million.

Crews know the dam is damaged but are working to figure out how bad it is. City officials posted pictures Thursday of rescuers using a raft to take families from a flood-threatened apartment complex as well as the partial collapse of one road into an adjacent creek.

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

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