The city of Lynchburg, Va., could be flooded with 17 feet of water in a matter of minutes, such as heavy rainfall Thursday evening, and threatened to cause a dam in the area to fail, according to local news reports citing statements from the National Weather service.
The authorities have evacuated parts of the city, in preparation for what officials of the province is reported as the “imminent failure” of the College Lake Dam around 9:30 a.m., according to the weather service.
Officials have opened a local high school as a temporary shelter and the Red Cross of Virginia is working to stock the shelter with supplies, FOX station WFXR-TV in Roanoke reported.
Lynchburg has a population of about 80,000.
We have a crew on the scene in Lynchburg, where somewhere between 12 and 18 inches of water flowing over a number of roads. Lakeside Drive and Blackwater Creek are experiencing flooding. pic.twitter.com/wwdn5AOw9x
— WFXR News (@WFXRnews) August 3, 2018
Up to six inches of rain fell Thursday and is causing the College Lake dam to fill the capacity, with water already overflowing onto a road and into a nearby creek, the Lynchburg Water Resources Department said.
“It’s pretty much sick. I can’t believe that. It is the worst I’ve seen in the eight years I’ve lived here,” Jeff Saunders, who came home to his top floor apartment, in search of water reach his front door, told the News & Advance of Lynchburg. “I’m just relieved [of people who are saved] are OK.”
It is unclear how many people were evacuated, but emergency response officials have started sending boats and squads to rescue people as roads various roads were already flooded.
According to the News & Advance, 15 residents, including children, have been rescued from the flooded area.
The NWS issued a flash flood watch for the area, that lasts until the beginning of the Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Benjamin Brown is a reporter from Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bdbrown473.