Power lines and a tree block Rainbow Forest Road during a thunderstorm, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018 in Lynchburg, Va. The National Weather Service said up to six inches of rain fell within hours, filling College Lake near Lynchburg beyond capacity. The service says a failure of the College Lake Dam could flood parts of Lynchburg with 17 feet of water in just seven minutes. (Taylor Irby /The News & Advance via AP)

Parts of Virginia city evacuate over possible dam failure

August 03, 2018 - 10:00 am

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — People in Virginia who were evacuated after heavy rains led to an overflowing dam may not be able to return to their homes for another day.

Officials in Lynchburg said it could be at least 24 hours before people evacuated from more than 100 houses could return.

The National Weather Service said up to six inches (15 centimeters) of rain fell within hours, filling College Lake near Lynchburg beyond capacity. The service says a failure of the College Lake Dam could flood parts of Lynchburg with 17 feet (5 meters) of water in just seven minutes.

County officials reported the dam's "imminent failure" at around 9:30 p.m. Thursday. They were still looking for signs of structural failure early Friday as water spilling over the dam, threatening about 124 houses in the city of 80,000.

Local fire and police used boats to rescue people. A flash flood watch was in effect until 11 a.m.

Several streets were closed as of Friday morning and city officials asked residents not to drive around barricades or through standing water.

The University of Lynchburg, which sits next to College Lake, is open Friday. Its main entrance is closed and visitors are asked to use back entrances to campus.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()