Evacuations lifted after dam failure fears ease in Lynchburg, Virginia
By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
By Ashley Williams, AccuWeather staff writer
August 04, 2018, 2:16:24 PM EDT
Share this article:
College Lake Dam, in Lynchburg, Virginia, was on the brink of failure on Friday due to recently heavy rainfall. The situation has stabilized for the time being, allowing residents to return home.
"Officials have reported that flooding over Lakeside Drive has ended and that water is holding within the shores of College Lake," according to a statement from the National Weather Service (NWS).
"While the situation continues to remain stable, emergency officials are continuing to monitor the dam as water is released [on Saturday]," the statement read.
Residents of threatened areas were asked to evacuate on Thursday evening. Evacuation orders were lifted at midday Saturday, the City of Lynchburg said in a statement.
"For the first time in probably 50 years or more, the emergency sluiceway at the bottom of College Lake dam has been opened and the lake is slowly starting to empty," according to the statement.
That will relieve pressure on the damaged dam and aid in repairs.
"Lakeside Drive will likely remain closed for about 6-8 weeks while that work is done," the the statement read.
Late Thursday into Friday, water was overflowing the top of the dam and officials said it on was the brink of failure due to recent heavy rainfall.
According to the NWS, water levels in Lynchburg could reach 17 feet in just seven minutes if the dam breaks, swiftly inundating homes and businesses.
Lynchburg is located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, about 50 miles east of Roanoke.
"Lynchburg received 1.35 inches of rain on Thursday and 2.00 inches so far this month," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said.
However, upstream rainfall can also contribute to rising water levels.
"Three to 6 inches of rain have fallen across the area since the afternoon of July 29, with the heaviest falling in the towns of Timberlake and Forest," Rathbun said.
Largely dry weather is expected into Monday, preventing significantly more water from seeping into the ground and creek system.
Widely-separated thunderstorms may dot more of the region Tuesday into Wednesday.
"The public is strongly advised to not walk on the lake bed due to unstable sediment," according to the city's statement. Residents are also asked to not climb on rock walls or enter the stream in the vicinity of the dam.
Here’s a video I took of the dam at @lynchburg about 5 minutes ago. It’s starting to rain again. Flash flood advisory in effect until 9 pm. 134 people evacuated. If it breaks 17 ft water in minutes. #prayforlynchburg #damfailure @ABC @NBCNews @FoxNews @CNN @POTUS @GovernorVA pic.twitter.com/7Gvuw8FY0i— Cameron CH (@cameroncch) August 3, 2018
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Thanksgiving travel: Most areas of US to dodge major weather-related issues with exception a few pockets of snowfall, rain
Weather News - November 13, 2018, 1:37:07 PM EST
The overall weather pattern is looking much less-stormy for millions that will be taking to the roads and the skies ahead of Thanksgiving starting this weekend across the United States.
During the colder months, the chilly, dry air can zap moisture from the eyes, making contact lenses more likely to irritate a person’s vision.
Weather News - November 13, 2018, 12:47:16 PM EST
The recent lull in tropical activity across the Atlantic Ocean comes to an end this week.
Weather News - November 13, 2018, 1:15:48 PM EST
The weekend before Thanksgiving will bring one of the last major meteor shows of the year as the Leonids streak across the sky.
Weather News - November 13, 2018, 12:40:08 PM EST
Heavy rain and thunderstorms slammed parts of Argentina over the weekend, and more is on the way through Tuesday.
Weather News - November 13, 2018, 9:44:45 AM EST
Cyclonic Storm Gaja, which formed this past weekend in the Bay of Bengal, will track westward through southern India in the coming days.
Weather News - November 13, 2018, 1:57:56 PM EST
Firefighters battling the numerous deadly and destructive blazes across California may finally receive some relief from Mother Nature early next week in what may become one of the most costly weather and climate disasters in United States history.
Dams date back to around 2950-2750 B.C., when the ancient Egyptians built the first known dam, but it's not common to learn about their purpose and how they work.