Lynchburg floods: Flooding dam sparks evacuations in United States city

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A flash flood watch remains in effect for much of central and western Virginia, while central Lynchburg is under a flash flood warning. The area impacted would be the city of Lynchburg, which is one mile downstream from the dam.

Over 100 people are being forced from their homes in Lynchburg as crews monitor a dam in danger of failing.

County officials reported the dam's "imminent failure" at around 9:30 p.m. Thursday, August 2.

Since 2014, the City Council has been considering options for repairing or replacing the dam.

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The College Lake Dam exceeded its capacity after up to 6in (15cm) of rain fell on Thursday evening, Lynchburg Water Resources Department said.

Officials had warned late Thursday that its collapse would inundate parts of the city with 17 feet of water in just seven minutes.

Lynchburg, Virginia, is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, about 50 miles from Roanoke.

Carter explained that they were already dealing with floods from days of rain - more than six inches which has gotten worse - and they have had to conduct evacuations, some by boat.

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LuAnn Hunt, a city spokeswoman, tells NPR that 94 people took shelter at a local high school that's serving as an evacuation center.

The lake is the largest urban lake in Lynchburg. Twelve to 18 inches of water are flowing over Lakeside Drive into Blackwater Creek. The original surface area of the lake was reported to be 44 acres and has been reduced to 19 acres due to sedimentation. Officials are working to create a plan to keep the dam stabilized which may include opening the sluice gate to reduce the water levels.

The dam was built in the early '30s and, like many dams in the US, doesn't meet current safety standards.

"Three to 6 inches of rain have fallen across the area since the afternoon of July 29, with the heaviest falling in the towns of Timberlake and Forest", Rathbun said.

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