Central Virginia water rescue crews, city leaders prepared for flooding days in advance

Water Resources Department has two sensors in College Lake Dam

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Thursday’s weather had city leaders in Lynchburg watching water levels in the area.

The Hill City has had its share of flooding in the past, so city leaders have been keeping a close eye at what’s happening at the College Lake Dam.

City leaders told 10 News they are prepared.

Every hour, they’ve come out to check the lake bed. There’s a camera above the lake too.

As 10 has previously reported, the water resources department has two sensors in the lake.

Erin Hawkins, the water quality manager for Lynchburg Water Resources, showed 10 News real-time information they’re collecting as it rains.

Hawkins says the normal level for College Lake is 628 feet.

The rain event is expected to last for several more hours, which still leaves a possibility for creeks to rise out of their banks.

“It is something to be concern of locally. If you have normally experienced flooding, you may see localized flooding. In terms of the dam itself, I don’t anticipate there being (concern). But that’s why we keep an eye on the dam for changing conditions,” Hawkins said.

Certified water rescue crew members in Lynchburg and Bedford were stationed at various fire stations with their equipment ready to go.

10 News stopped by the Bedford Fire Station Thursday and crews had their boats tied to the trailer and water rescue equipment nearby.

Over in Lynchburg, battalion Chief Kenny Turner said they’ve been preparing over the last few days. Most of the equipment needed for a swift water rescue - including kayaking paddles and helmets - was ready to go.

“We have checked and rechecked all of our equipment and at this point, we are just waiting for an event. And if we need to go, we are completely prepared and ready to handle anything that we respond to,” Turner said.

Both Lynchburg and Bedford water rescue agencies are prepared to respond anywhere within the state.

Turner said they’ve been in touch with agencies in southside and have enough crews to help down there and here at home.