Heavy rains have prompted authorities to evacuate parts of a central Virginia city in case a dam fails and floods the area.
A failure of the College Lake Dam near Lynchburg could flood the city with 17 feet of water in seven minutes, news outlets reported Thursday evening, citing statements from the National Weather Service. The service said county officials reported the dam's "imminent failure'' at around 9:30 p.m.
The Lynchburg Water Resources Department says up to six inches of rain fell Thursday, causing College Lake to fill beyond its capacity. It said that up to 18 inches of water from the lake overflowed onto a road and into a nearby creek.
Lynchburg has a population of about 80,000.
The Lynchburg Department of Emergency Services said areas near the dam were being evacuated Thursday night. It is unclear how many people were being evacuated.
Several roads already were flooded or closed at that time, with local fire and police departments sending out boats and squads to rescue people. The NWS issued a flash flood watch for the area that lasts until early Friday.