Lynchburg residents evacuated as flood waters overtop dam

Residents in the Virginia city of Lynchburg were ordered to evacuate their homes amid fears Friday morning that a dam could fail and flood the city.

Officials have said that the College Lake Dam is overflowing after days of heavy rains and that if it fails portions of the city could be under 17 feet of water in just seven minutes, according to the National Weather Service.

A flash flood warning was to remain in effect until 11:30 a.m. Friday and the weather service warned residents in low-lying areas north of the dam to move to higher ground immediately.

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Piper Van De Perre, the spokeswoman for the city's Department of Emergency Services, told CNN affiliate WDBJ-TV early Friday morning that crews were targeting a list of 124 homes for evacuation that are at imminent threat of dam breach.

Images and video posted on the city's Facebook page showed emergency workers rescuing families stranded in an apartment complex by boat.

The weather service office in Blacksburg, Virginia, said that 4 to 6 inches of rain had fallen in the area Thursday evening, causing the dam to be filled beyond capacity and that more than a foot of water was flowing onto the nearby Lakeside Drive into Blackwater Creek.

"At this time, the dam has not failed and is being closely monitored by emergency personnel for any signs of structural failure," the weather service said in a statement.

Lynchburg, in the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia, is home to about 80,000 people.

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