Lynchburg floods: Flooding dam sparks evacuations in U.S. city


Over 100 people are being forced from their homes in Lynchburg as crews monitor a dam in danger of failing.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Blackwater Creek below the dam until 3.15pm local time (8.15pm BST).

Officials say if the dam does fail, the water could rise several feet in just a matter of minutes with swift currents.

Members of the Campbell County Fire Department wade through water at an apartment complex in Lynchburg, Va., Aug. 2, 2018.

College Lake sits adjacent to the University of Lynchburg, and the dam was built in 1934 by the Virginia Department of Highways.

A truck passes a partially submerged abandoned vehicle in Lynchburg, Va. during a thunderstorm, August 2, 2018.

In 2014, officials launched an investigation to determine the safety of the dam after a city engineering study raised alarms that it posed a possible hazard to residents living downstream.

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Turner Perrow, a member of the Lynchburg City Council who is also a civil engineer, tells NPR that the dam presents "a complicated problem".

The dam was built in the 1930s by the Virginia Department of Highways and is now listed among "high hazard dams" in need of fix in Virginia.

The following is a list of block ranges that would be affected in the event of a dam break.

Lynchburg has a population of about 80,000 and lies in the Blue Ridge Mountains. More recent projections have placed the fix costs at $10 million. Since then, the city has continued to analyze the dam to determine how to move forward.

Officials in Lynchburg, in south-central Virginia, pronounced an endangered dam as "stable and safe" Friday afternoon, hours after they had warned the dam faced "imminent failure".

A press conference is scheduled at 3 p.m. Friday. "We are developing a plan to stabilize the dam which may include opening the sluice gate at the dam to reduce the water levels".