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Evacuations in rain-stricken Virginia amid concern dam might collapse

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Heavy rains in Lynchburg, Va., have caused water to overflow from the College Lake Dam, which officials say could be at risk of failure. Photo courtesy city of Lynchburg/Facebook

By Susan McFarland, UPI

Authorities are concerned an overflowing dam in central Virginia is at risk of failing, and have ordered evacuations in the most threatened areas.

Officials said severe rains have pushed water levels over the College Lake Dam near Lynchburg, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains about 50 miles east of Roanoke. If the dam fails, experts fear the water level could reach 17 feet in less than 10 minutes.

[post_ads]Late Thursday, officials began evacuating residents in threatened areas close to the dam. The Lynchburg Sheriff's Office opened an auditorium for evacuees and is urging anyone in low-lying areas to leave, even if official evacuations haven't been ordered.

Experts say the threat will last through Friday, as heavy rains are expected to return in the afternoon and evening.

Overnight, city officials monitored the dam for structural weaknesses. They said any new rainfall upstream could add to the threat.

Forecasters say the area has received 3 to 6 inches of rain this week.

Authorities said concerns about the dam's failure will continue to be a threat until the water levels can safely be lowered.

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Evacuations in rain-stricken Virginia amid concern dam might collapse
Evacuations in rain-stricken Virginia amid concern dam might collapse
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U.S. - U.S. Daily News
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