Flooding threat extends hundreds of miles as severe weather hammers East Coast

LYNCHBURG, Va. -- Flash flood warnings and watches stretch from Georgia to Maine. Parts of Pennsylvania have gotten about half a foot of rain since Thursday night -- and it will keep falling into Saturday in many places. 

In Lynchburg, Virginia, about 150 people were forced from their homes after a dam began to overflow. 

The storms could also whip up tornadoes. One touched down last night in the New York City borough of Queens. 

As water surged out of the College Lake Reservoir in Lynchburg, officials feared that the dam built in the 1930s might collapse -- sending a monster wave downstream and flooding parts of the city under more than 15 feet of water. 

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Flooding near Lynchburg, Virginia on August 2, 2018.

Kipp Teague

With help from first responders, 150 people were evacuated. They sought shelter from the storm at a high school. 

"I am hoping that we go back home soon, but I am a little scared to see if there's any damage or how much there is," said Lynchburg resident Fallyn Phillips. 

But there was good news on Friday as engineers examined the dam and said it survived in good shape.
 
"We are still concerned about its overall stability going into tonight and tomorrow morning," said Tim Mitchell, the director of Lynchburg Water Resources. "But we are pretty confident at this point that the dam is stable and safe."

Rain is still in the forecast, but as of Friday night, they were almost 100 percent confident that there would not be a catastrophic failure.   

Up and down the East Coast, Mother Nature has been working overtime this week. 
 
In Charlottesville, a rare tornado tore up trees and damaged a high school. In Albany, New York, cars are getting stuck in heavily flooded roads.
 
A confirmed tornado even hit New York City Thursday night, uprooting trees and causing damage.
 
And a sinkhole opened up near Greensboro, North Carolina, where trees in soggy soil toppled onto power lines. 

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.