Hundreds evacuated in Virginia after dam overflows

Screengrab of video showing College Lake Dam overflowing with

The National Weather Service said if complete failure of the dam occurs, "the water depth in Lynchburg could exceed 17 feet in seven minutes".

Heavy rains and flash floods have struck a wide swath of the country from the Carolinas to New England.

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.

A flash flood warning was to remain in effect until 11:30 a.m. Friday and the weather service warned residents in low-lying areas north of the dam to move to higher ground immediately.

Hundreds of people have been evacuated in Virginia after a National Weather Service (NWS) warning sparked fears of a dam burst.

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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"The worst case scenario if that dam does breach, officials are anxious it might, is that water would go surging downhill into Lynchburg and it could drown that city in 17 feet of water in about 7 minutes". They were still looking for signs of structural failure early Friday as water kept spilling over the dam, threatening about 124 houses in the city of 80,000. The road, now usa 221, needed expansion and improvement. At 919 PM EDT, county dispatch reported the imminent failure of College Lake Dam on the Blackwater Creek.

The city of Lynchburg is the closest settlement downstream of the structure. The city knew the dam couldn't handle 2 feet of rain, the maximum it was supposed to be able to cope with, Perrow says.

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

"The public is strongly advised to not walk on the lake bed due to unstable sediment", according to the city's statement.

The west-central Virginia city near the Blue Ridge Mountains has received plenty of runoff from recent rains, with 4 to 6 inches falling in the area Thursday evening and filling College Lake beyond its capacity.

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