Authorities near Lynchburg in the U.S. state of Virginia sought to evacuate more than 100 people after weather forecasters warned that heavy rainfall could cause a dam to fail and flood the city. If it fails completely, the water depth in Lynchburg could exceed 17 feet in 7 minutes.
In Lynchburg, Virginia, about 150 people were forced from their homes after a dam began to overflow.
Evacuation orders have been issued in parts of Lynchburg, Virginia, over fears a dam may fail amid flooding.
The dam was deemed intact Friday morning, CNN reported, although water has continued to cascade over the dam and into Blackwater Creek, which is two miles from downtown Lynchburg.
Were authorities previously aware of the danger?
The weather service said that College Lake was at "near capacity" after up to 15 centimetres of rain fell on Thursday evening (Friday NZT).
Turner Perrow, a member of the Lynchburg City Council who is also a civil engineer, tells NPR that the dam presents "a complicated problem". City officials posted pictures Thursday of rescuers using a raft to take families from a flood-threatened apartment complex as well as the partial collapse of one road into an adjacent creek.
The dam was built in the 1930s by the Virginia Department of Highways and is now listed among "high hazard dams" in need of fix in Virginia. More recent projections have placed the fix costs at $10 million.
Some of Lynchburg is already flooded.
Four to six inches of rain were said to have fallen overnight.
A press conference is scheduled to be held at 3 p.m. for an update. Officials are working to create a plan to keep the dam stabilized which may include opening the sluice gate to reduce the water levels.
Then, Gearing said, workers can stabilize the bridge in preparation for the next storm approaching.