UPDATE: Dam situation has stabilized, evacuees asked to stay away till dry weather returns

College Lake Dam is not in danger of failing


LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — The Latest on flooding in Lynchburg, Virginia (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

Officials in Virginia say a dam that overflowed Thursday is currently stable but are asking people who were evacuated to stay out of their homes until there’s dry weather.

City officials from Lynchburg said at a news conference Friday that engineers had found that College Lake Dam was not in danger of failing.

Heavy rains Thursday filled College Lake near Lynchburg beyond capacity, prompting officials to report that the lake’s dam was in danger of “imminent failure.”

The National Weather Service said a failure of the dam could flood parts of Lynchburg with 17 feet (5 meters) of water in just seven minutes.

Officials said 150 homes downstream from the dam were evacuated.

Weather forecasts for Lynchburg call for more rain through Saturday with sunny weather on Sunday.


LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - People in Virginia who were evacuated after heavy rains led to an overflowing dam may not be able to return to their homes for another day.

Officials in Lynchburg said it could be at least 24 hours before people evacuated from more than 100 houses could return.

The National Weather Service said up to six inches (15 centimeters) of rain fell within hours, filling College Lake near Lynchburg beyond capacity. The service says a failure of the College Lake Dam could flood parts of Lynchburg with 17 feet (5 meters) of water in just seven minutes.

County officials reported the dam's "imminent failure" at around 9:30 p.m. Thursday. They were still looking for signs of structural failure early Friday as water spilling over the dam, threatening about 124 houses in the city of 80,000.

Local fire and police used boats to rescue people. A flash flood watch was in effect until 11 a.m.

Several streets were closed as of Friday morning and city officials asked residents not to drive around barricades or through standing water.

The University of Lynchburg, which sits next to College Lake, is open Friday. Its main entrance is closed and visitors are asked to use back entrances to campus.


The National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Virginia is warning people downstream of the College Lake Dam of potential failure of the dam due to extreme rainfall and water running uncontrolled over the dam.

The bulletin warns of potential swift currents rising several feet should a dam failure occur.

This is a developing story, more to come as it is known.

The bulletin released by the National Weather Service:


Flash Flood Warning
National Weather Service

​​​​​​The National Weather Service in BLACKSBURG has issued a Flash Flood Warning for the central City of Lynchburg in central Virginia until 1100 AM EDT Friday.

At 259 AM EDT, Emergency management reported that 4 to 6 inches of heavy rain Thursday evening has caused College Lake Dam to remain  above its capacity, and that water continues to flow uncontrolled  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.

The threat may continue longer into Friday, and the Flash flood warning may need  to be extended.  

Flood waters entering Blackwater Creek from College Lake will  continue into Ivy Creek before entering the James River.

Some locations that will experience flooding include Lynchburg.

This includes the following streams and drainages...

James River...

Blackwater Creek...

Williams Run...

and Ivy Creek.


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.

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