Lynchburg dam collapse: Residents “are preparing for the worst”

Friday, August 3, 2018
By Paul Martin

POLICE officials in the US city of Lynchburg have said residents were “prepare for the worst” as they face the “imminent failure” of the College Lake dam, which could have potentially catastrophic consequences.

Fri, Aug 3, 2018

Evacuations are underway after torrential rainfall filled College Lake beyond capacity.

If the dam bursts, experts have said parts of the Virginia city, which is home to 80,000 people, could be flooded with 17 inches of water in just seven minutes.

The National Weather Service said at one point an extraordinary six inches of rain had fallen within the space of a few hours.

Speaking to Fox News, Major Tommy Carter of the Lynchburg Sheriff’s office, said the community was “preparing for the worst” and a potentially catastrophic flooding situation.

He said he and his colleagues were now focusing on evacuations and road closures near the dam, adding that more could be on the way.

He added: “The good news is that the rain has stopped and began to recede yesterday, relieving some of the pressure on the dam.

“But the bad news is that there’s more rain in the forecast today and the dam has been weakened.”

EC Glass High School has now been turned into a temporary shelter for people who have been displaced, with the Red Cross Virginia currently stocking it with supplies.

Meanwhile photos and videos widely circulated on social media showed water gushing out of College Lake.

Jeff Saunders, who came home to his top floor apartment to find water reaching his front door, told Lynchburg newspaper the News & Advance: “It’s pretty much sickening.

“I can’t believe that. It’s the worst I’ve seen in all the eight years I’ve lived here.

“I’m just relieved [people who were rescued] are OK.”

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