Evacuations underway with threat of Lynchburg's College Lake Dam failing

If dam fails, water depth in Lynchburg could exceed 17 feet in 7 minutes

By Jeff Williamson - Digital Content Manager

LYNCHBURG, Va. - Severe weather in Lynchburg is causing evacuations for some as a dam may fail.

With the threat of the College Lake Dam failing, evacuations for those who live near the dam in the Blackwater Creek Trail area are underway, according to the Lynchburg Department of Emergency Services.

At this time, the dam has not failed and is being closely monitored by emergency personnel for any signs of structural failure, according to the National Weather Service. 

If a complete failure of the dam occurs, the water depth at Lynchburg could exceed 17 feet in 7 minutes.

The E. C. Glass High school auditorium is available to residents being evacuated from their homes. The entrance on the Langhorne Road side is open, and pets are allowed. The Salvation Army is also housing people who have to evacuate. Those who have had to evacuate may not be able to return home for a minimum of 24 hours, according to a Lynchburg spokesperson. 

There are no evacuations happening at the University of Lynchburg as the university is not downstream of the dam, according to a university official.

The following streets are closed and detours are in place: 

* Lakeside Drive is closed from Old Forest Road to Moorman Drive.
* Halsey Street
* Hill Street
* Greenwood Drive
* McConville Road
* Monticello
* Blackwater Creek Trail

Do not drive around barricades. Flood waters often carry debris and other contaminants. Residents are cautioned to stay out of the water.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for the Blackwater Creek below the dam has been issued until 3:15 a.m.

Another flash flood warning covers a greater area and lasts until 5:45 a.m.

At 10:01 p.m. the Lynchburg Water Resources Department reported that 4 to 6 inches of heavy rain earlier in the evening has caused College Lake to fill beyond its capacity and that 12 to 18 inches of water is flowing over Lakeside Drive into Blackwater Creek.

PHOTOS: FLOODING IN THE LYNCHBURG AREA

This warning includes the following streams and drainages:

  • James River
  • Blackwater Creek
  • Williams Run
  • Ivy Creek

If you are in low lying areas below the College Lake Dam, you should move to higher ground immediately.

 

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