(Taylor Irby/The News & Advance via AP)

UPDATE: Severe Weather Threatens Central Virginia

Major concerns of flooding in Lynchburg; Richmond area expecting more rain

August 03, 2018 - 12:15 pm

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — UPDATE (WRVA): At 3pm, Lynchburg city officials said the dam at College Lake appears stable, and that repairs are underway to further stabilize it.  Once that takes place, people will be able to return to their homes downstream.  However, there will also be around-the clock monitoring of the dam to make sure there are not further risks.  Officials are also concerned about additional rain Friday night.

ORIGINAL (AP): People in Virginia who were evacuated after heavy rains led to an overflowing dam may not be able to return to their homes for another day.

Officials in Lynchburg said it could be at least 24 hours before people evacuated from more than 100 houses could return.

The National Weather Service said up to six inches (15 centimeters) of rain fell within hours, filling College Lake near Lynchburg beyond capacity. The service says a failure of the College Lake Dam could flood parts of Lynchburg with 17 feet (5 meters) of water in just seven minutes.

County officials reported the dam's "imminent failure" at around 9:30 p.m. Thursday. They were still looking for signs of structural failure early Friday as water spilling over the dam, threatening about 124 houses in the city of 80,000.

Local fire and police used boats to rescue people. Several streets were closed as of Friday morning and city officials asked residents not to drive around barricades or through standing water.

The University of Lynchburg, which sits next to College Lake, is open Friday. Its main entrance is closed and visitors are asked to use back entrances to campus.

For Metro Richmond today, NBC 12 Meteorologist Megan Wise says counties in the western portion of our area need to take special heed, because there is already so much saturation. She warns to be on the lookout for standing water no matter where you, and never attempt to drive through it. The heaviest rain in our area today could come during your afternoon or evening commute home.


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