James Nears Flood Stage

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

June 27, 2006

As the rains continue to fall, flood waters continue to rise. For the 5th straight day, water and rain continue to pound our area. It is now rising the banks of the James River, causing some potential flooding in Scottsville. At this point, Scottsville Firefighters are trying to monitor the levees, hoping that they can safeguard the town.

"I was around here right around 5 a.m. this morning, and [the river] was at about 15 feet, and within two hours, it got to about 17 feet," said Darrell Rowe.

In less than 24 hours, the James River has risen from normal levels to nearing flood stage. The National Weather Service predicts the James will crest at about 22 feet sometime this evening, putting the Scottsville Fire Department on guard.

"We're putting in the Ferry Street gates and that will close off the river from this end of town and then if we get to 25 feet then Route 6 that runs into Fluvanna County will be closed also," said Scottsville Volunteer Fire Chief Timmy Cersley.

"It scares me because I am scared of water. Yes I am," said Shirley Leffel.

Leffel has worked for 17 years at the GOCO Mart just yards away from the river. She remembers many a past flood, and is worried it could happen again.

"I don't think it is too bad now since the levee is up there because we are a little high but down the street they might have a little problem I think."

Down the street is downtown Scottsville, no stranger to past storms. A wall marks some of the worst flooding the town has ever seen but all were before the new levee system was installed. A system designed for just this scenario.

"The ultimate goal is to keep the water out of the town. Because in years past, before they had the levee, the town would get flooded every time that the river flooded," said Chief Cersley.

All involved say if everything works as it should, there should be no reason that any water threatens the town. They also say that weather is never something that you can take for granted.

Luckily, there are no homes in Scottsville that are very close to the James River. There are several businesses, but no evacuations are in place.

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