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UPDATE: Sluice at the College Lake Dam reopened Thursday

City crews have reopened the sluice at the College Lake Dam, which is causing the water level to rise in Blackwater Creek below the dam. 

The water level was expected to change throughout the day Thursday as more water is released from College Lake. 

Residents are advised to stay out of and away from the creek.

Crews had closed off the College Lake Dam in Lynchburg sluice on Wednesday to allow divers to check the water's drainage pipe, a sort of safety valve designed for emergency situations.

This weekend marked only the second time the sluice had ever been opened in almost 75 years.

"He'll be going in from that side to see if we have any sediment built up, if we have any debris or anything like that so we can clear that out to make sure that we can keep that outfall open so we don't have any issues when rain events occur," said Lynchburg Public Information Officer Jes Gearing.

She says that the situation is made even more complex by ownership, the city owns the dam and roadway while the University of Lynchburg owns the reservoir and land.

She adds that, even with crews being proactive, the dam is undersized for another freak weather event.

The kind that, only days ago, threatened to put parts of the city under feet of water.

Despite the efforts of local government and private organizations, many Lynchburg residents are still without a home. Many of them are staying at a former Liberty University residential area turned disaster relief center, including a mother and daughter who say they lost everything in the flooding.

"We've lost everything. The shoes on our feet is it. We do have clothes, we have our dogs, we have each other. I mean, we're good. We're going to make it," said Holly Mays.

She and her daughter, 19-year-old Carson Peters, are two of the 55 people now staying at the Liberty University Annex.

Almost two-and-a-half feet of water washed away everything, including cars, aside from what you see here.

"I figured everything happens for a specific reason. Do we know that reason? No. But it's not just us -- there were 15 other families at 37 West," said Peters.

Peters says that, despite an injured foot and only flip-flops to wear, she remains optimistic.

Her mom, who explained that renter's insurance does not cover flooding in the state of Virginia, is trying to do the same.

"From there I don't know where we'll go, but we're just going to take it day-by-day," said Mays.




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