Concerns that the College Lake Dam could fail in Lynchburg, Virginia have sparked evacuations. You can see a list of evacuations, learn about a temporary shelter, and see the weather forecast below.
If the dam fails, the situation would be dire fast, so emergency officials say people should heed the warnings. According to ABC 13, reporting on the evening of August 2, 2018, “If a complete failure does occur, the water depth at Lynchburg could exceed 17 feet in 7 minutes.”
The City of Lynchburg Department of Emergency Services shared that post and is providing additional updates on its Facebook page. “Due to the threat of the College Lake Dam failing, evacuations of residents in area of the Blackwater Creek Trail are underway,” the city department’s officials wrote. “…residents who live in this area…if you need a place to go due to being evacuated, we are opening a temporary shelter at EC Glass High School, the auditorium side.”
Lynchburg, Virginia, is a city of just over 80,000 people located east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. “College Lake Dam outside Lynchburg, Virginia is reportedly overflowing and on the brink of failure due to recently heavy rainfall. If the dam fails, portions of Lynchburg would reportedly flood within minutes,” Accuweather reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
The City Is Urging People in Affected Block Ranges to Evacuate
Lynchburg, which is located one mile from the dam, is under a flash flood warning until 3:15 a.m. August 2, 2018.
“The following is a list of block ranges that would be affected in the event of a dam break. Citizens living here are strongly urged to evacuate,” the City of Lynchburg wrote on Facebook around 11:30 p.m. on August 2, 2018. “Just a reminder there is a temporary shelter site set up at EC Glass High School on the auditorium side,” the city wrote.
Here’s the list of block ranges provided:
20 block 7th St
20 block 9th St
3000 block Birchwood Dr
20-40 block Cabell St
0-20 block Clifton St
100 block Halsey Rd
2300 block Heronhill Pl
2800 block Hill St
3200 block Hill St
1900 block Hillsdale Rd
100-500 block Hillside Ct
700 block Jefferson St
2800 block Kulman Pl
2200 block Oriole Pl
200-300 block Peninsular St
100-200 block Stonewall St
1900 block Thomson Dr
Six hours before that post, the city wrote, “Lynchburg – Please stay off the roads if you are able to – Extremely hazardous conditions – Do not attempt to drive through standing/moving water.”
You can monitor Lynchburg, Virginia police, fire and EMS scanner audio here.
The National Weather Service Says the Situation is Dangerous
According to the National Weather Service, there is a flash flood warning for a “dam break” in effect until 3:15 a.m. EDT for the central city of Lynchburg.
“At 1225 AM EDT, the Lynchburg Water Resources Department reported that College Lake remains above its capacity, and that water continues to flow uncontrolled several inches deep over Lakeside Drive into Blackwater Creek. At this time, the dam has not failed, and is being closely monitored by emergency personnel for any signs of structural failure,” NWS wrote on August 2, 2018.
The site continued, “Flood waters entering Blackwater Creek from College Lake will continue into Ivy Creek before entering the James River. This includes the following streams and drainages…James River… Blackwater Creek… Williams Run… and Ivy Creek.”
The weather service warned: “This remains a dangerous situation! Obey all orders by emergency personnel if instructed to evacuate the area downstream of the College Lake Dam. Should a dam failure occur, water along Blackwater and Ivy Creeks may rise several feet within a few minutes, with very swift currents. Obey all road closures and do not drive your automobile anywhere where water covers the road. Monitor the latest conditions via NOAA weather radio or your local news outlets.”
You can monitor the National Weather Service’s page for Lynchburg, Virginia here.
The forecast for overnight Thursday into Friday was given as “Occasional showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Patchy fog after 1am. Low around 71. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.”
On Friday, NWS reported, “Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, with a high near 80. South wind 5 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.”