Fears of Virginia dam failing lead to evacuations


The weather service issued a flash flood watch in effect until 6pm Friday, as additional showers and thunderstorms with heavy rain are possible. The area impacted would be the city of Lynchburg, which is one mile downstream from the dam.

Later Friday, officials from the city said the inspection showed "the structure is now stable and that there is no immediate fear of dam failure".

The University of Lynchburg was not ordered to evacuate, officials said, because it is not downstream from the dam.

The city of Lynchburg in the U.S. state of Virginia has seen torrential rain and severe weather in recent days.

Officials evacuated people from more than 100 homes in the city of 80,000. Hunt said it was hard to say how much of the city would be affected by the dam water, because the city has a creek system that meanders through different parts of the municipality.

Piper Van De Perre, the spokeswoman for the city's Department of Emergency Services, told CNN affiliate WDBJ-TV early Friday morning that crews were targeting a list of 124 homes for evacuation that are at imminent threat of dam breach.

"While the situation continues to remain stable, emergency officials are continuing to monitor the dam as water is released [on Saturday]", the statement read. Local fire and police used boats to rescue people.

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According to the City of Lynchburg, Lakeside Drive from Old Forest Road to Moorman Drive, will be closed until further notice.

Should the dam collapse, floodwaters would move from the creek into the James River near Lynchburg's business district.

That will relieve pressure on the damaged dam and aid in repairs.

Speaking from Lynchburg, CBS's Chip Reid warned the eastern American city could be flooded within 7 minutes.

The National Weather Service says up to 6 inches of rain fell within hours, filling College Lake near Lynchburg, Virginia beyond capacity.

The City of Lynchburg has created an interactive map to see if you're in a potential flooding area should the College Lake Dam fail.