Eleven states ranging from Georgia to Vermont face flash flood warnings and watches, affecting 24 million people, thanks to dangerous storms that are moving along the eastern coast of the U.S. and residents in Lynchburg, VA are definitely facing their own trials today in light of this weather.
College Lake Dam in Lynchburg is filled to over-capacity, thanks to heavy rainfall of 6+ inches in just 24 hours time. Since June 1st this year, there has been exceptional levels of rain that brings the year-to-date number to 37 inches of precipitation, which is over a foot above the average y-t-d readings.
Evacuations have been ordered for fear that the dam, exceeding its limit, may break and cause massive flooding to an approximately 80,000 residents. Water levels are expected, if it breaks, to reach over 17 feet within an astonishing 7 minute time period. In the meantime, evacuations and rescue boats are being dispatched in order to secure the safety of residents.
On Lakeside Drive, there is already a foot of water barreling across the roads and into Blackwater Creek, just 2 miles southwest of downtown Lynchburg. Unfortunately, the rain isn’t over yet. The forecast states that today is going to be another wet day, with one-three more inches of rainfall expected and finally seeing some dry weather conditions starting this weekend.
College Lake Dam is listed among the “high hazard dams” that are in need of structural repair and is currently being warned to residents and officials as suffering “imminent failure” and posing a definite threat. Proposals for rehabilitation solutions have been introduced in previous years, but no decisions had been made regarding the repairs.
Quick Facts about College Lake and College Lake Dam
It was constructed in 1934 by Virginia Department of Highways
The reservoir is owned by Lynchburg College
Height: 35.4 feet
Length: 300 feet
Spillway width: 60 feet
Surface area: originally 44 acres , currently 19 acres (827,640 sq feet) due to sedimentation
Approximate volume capacity: 629 acre feet (approximate 225 million gallons of water)