The high hazard College Lake Dam in Lynchburg, Virginia, overtopped Friday morning, sending water barreling across a local road. Evacuations were ordered over fears that the dam could fail. By midday, water levels had receded but more rain forecasted could result in more flooding. If the dam were to completely fail, it would send enough water into the area to reach a depth of 17 feet in seven minutes.
More than 100 residences were evacuated in the Blackwater Creek Trail area in Lynchburg, Virginia, amid fears that the College Lake Dam could fail as water overtopped the dam and barreled across local roads.
By early Friday afternoon, levels had receded so the water was no longer overtopping the dam. They warned, however, that the potential remains for more heavy rains that could result in more flooding.
Should the dam completely fail, water levels in the affected part of the city could rise to 17 feet in just 7 minutes.
Earlier in the day, up to a foot and a half of water was seen flowing across Lakeside Drive and into Blackwater Creek after spilling out of the dam.
— NWS Blacksburg (@NWSBlacksburg) August 3, 2018
The dam was above capacity after storms dropped more than 6 inches of rain in just 24 hours upstream from College Lake.
Lynchburg has seen an exceptional amount of rain so far in 2018. More than 12 inches of rain have fallen on the city since June 1st, bringing the annual year-to-date total to more than 37 inches. That’s more than a foot above the average for this time of the year, making this the third wettest year-to-date at Lynchburg Regional Airport since 1945.
And it’s not over. Unfortunately, one final round of rain, potentially locally heavy, is expected in the Piedmont area of Virginia Friday before drier weather moves in for the weekend.
College Lake Dam was built in the 1930s and is listed among “high hazard dams” in need of repair in Virginia.
In Campbell County, about 13 inches of water was spilling over the Timberlake Dam spillway and a motorist had to be rescued from a vehicle trapped in high water.