Evacuations begin as Virginia dam on verge of collapse

A dam in Virginia could be on the brink of collapse, potentially flooding parts of Lynchburg with up to 17 feet of water, the National Weather Service said Friday morning. The weather service called for evacuations around the College Lake Dam in Lynchburg, WSLS reported.

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Piper Van DePerre of Lynchburg's Department of Emergency Services said 124 residences had to be evacuated because of the threat of a breach in the dam, WDBJ reported.

Between 4 to 6 inches of rain fell Thursday night, causing College Lake to overflow, WTVR reported. By 10 p.m., up to 18 inches of water was flowing from Lynchburg streets into Blackwater Creek, the television station reported.

"At this time, the dam has not failed, and is being closely monitored by emergency personnel for any signs of structural failure," weather service officials said. "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."

If a complete failure of the dam occurs, the National Weather Service said the water levels in Lynchburg could top 17 feet in seven minutes.

There is 1 to 3 inches of rain forecast in the area by Friday evening, CNN reported.

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