Flooding prompts water rescues in southwestern Virginia: ‘It’s like a beach’

RICHMOND, Va. — Parts of Virginia area experiencing flooding and a flash flood watch remains in effect for much of the state until Friday morning.

Dozens of roads in Southwestern Virginia were impassable Thursday afternoon as heavy rains from Tropical Storm Michael pounded the Commonwealth.

Swift water rescue teams came to the aid of residents trapped by the rising waters in Danville Thursday evening, according to WDBJ.

“The city warned residents to shelter in place and not venture out as heavy rains continue to pour,” GoDanRiver.com reported. “Winds added to the problem, downing numerous trees, blocking roads and leaving about 10,000 without power.”

Video showed floodwaters inundating the road in front of the Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Roanoke-Virginia/108433452513849

“It’s like a beach here,” a child can be heard saying in the video.

Roanoke River (SOURCE: WSLS)

Roanoke River (SOURCE: WSLS)

Additionally, drone video from WSLS showed flooding along the Roanoke River.

“Flash flooding has been reported with numerous roads closed in Roanoke County and four roads in Montgomery County with moving water reported over Toms Creek Road in Blacksburg,” National Weather Service officials said. “Larger streams and rivers are also rising rapidly across the warned area including Mason Creek in Salem and the Roanoke River. The Roanoke River at Salem Pump Station just rose above flood stage and continues to rise. Additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches are possible in the warned area over the next several hours.”

Meteorologists warned heavy rainfall will spread across the state during Thursday evening.  Rainfall will be torrential, with over 1″ possible in under an hour.  Total rainfall could exceed 5″ in some locations.

Flood safety tips:

  • Seek higher ground. Don’t camp near water.
  • Avoid drainage areas, river, creeks, and streams.
  • Turn around, don’t drown. Never drive over water.
  • Be especially cautious at night!

As the storm moves by and away from our area, strong wind gusts will occur.  Some gusts over 35 mph are likely with gusts over 45 mph possible, especially across eastern and southeastern Virginia.  A wind advisory is in effect for much of the Richmond metro area, and a high wind warning is in effect for the southeastern coast.