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All eyes on Virginia dam as heavy rain sparks evacuations

All eyes on Virginia dam as heavy rain sparks evacuations

Officials in Virginia say a dam that overflowed Thursday is now stable but are asking people who were evacuated to stay out of their homes until there's dry weather.

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". Water was already spilling over the dam early Friday, threatening about 124 houses in the city of 80,000, according to The Associated Press.

Local fire and police were sending boats to rescue people and take them to area shelters. A flash flood watch remains in effect for much of central and western Virginia, while central Lynchburg is under a flash flood warning.

Lynchburg Director of Water Resources Tim Mitchell said at a 3 p.m. news conference that the dam would continue to be watched around the clock. It is host to several institutions of higher education, including the University of Lynchburg and Liberty University. The dam has been under survey by the city for years as a safety hazard.

The collapse of the dam would cause significant damage to homes and businesses.

A deluge of rain in Virginia has prompted evacuations below an overflowing dam in Lynchburg. The city said it would open a gate in the spillway on Saturday to drain some of the water from the reservoir before fix work could begin on the dam and roadway.

Lynchburg floods: Flooding dam sparks evacuations in US city
Evacuations underway in Lynchburg, heavy rain may cause dam to fail

A partial road collapse occurred along College Drive in Lynchburg Thursday, Aug. 2.

Lynchburg city officials said at a news conference Friday that the engineers had found that College Lake Dam was not in danger of failing.

If the dam bursts, Lynchburg could be flooded with up to 17ft (six metres) of water in just seven minutes.

"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.

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.

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