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If Dam Fails, City Could Be Flooded in 7 Minutes

College Lake Dam overflowing near Lynchburg, Va.
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2018 9:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – Some 124 homes in Lynchburg, Va., are under evacuation orders with intense flooding in the region. The College Lake Dam, whose complete failure could put the downstream city of 80,000 under 17 feet of water in seven minutes, exceeded its capacity Thursday after four to six inches of rain fell, per WSLS and the BBC. The News & Advance reports 12 to 18 inches of water were flowing out of the dam, over a road, and into a creek after three inches of rain fell in a single hour. The dam "is being closely monitored … for any signs of structural failure" as another inch or so of rain is expected Friday near Lynchburg, 50 miles east of Roanoke, according to the National Weather Service. "This remains a dangerous situation."

Footage shows only roofs of cars visible on flooded roads. Those whose homes are considered at risk due to flooding have been moved to temporary shelters, per the News & Advance, which notes some 5,200 residents of Lynchburg and Timberlake were without power Friday morning. A flash flood watch remains in effect for much of central and western Virginia, while central Lynchburg is under a flash flood warning. Per Weather.com, the city is battling its third wettest year since 1945 in which more than 12 inches of rain have fallen since June 1. That brings its annual year-to-date total to more than 37 inches, or more than a foot above last year's total as of this date. (Read more flooding stories.)

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