May 16, 2014
Several inches of rain, and the rivers and creeks in Central Virginia begin to rise. While some see the water as work, others make the most of it.
The James River swelled to over 15 feet on Friday morning in Scottsville. Tim Karr the levy superintendent for the town of Scottsville said the sudden swell caught him off guard, but he headed down the pump house near the James.
"We've closed the gates and we are now pumping down Mint Creek to prevent it from flooding the town," said Karr.
Three pumps run 50,000 gallons a minute, sending water east toward Richmond. Karr says crew need to pump about six times each year when water levels get too high.
"It's a significant amount of water due to rainfall, but it's not the deepest flood we've seen," said Karr. "We'll continue pumping operations until it's under control.
Some Scottsville residents were out Friday morning, taking the swell in stride. Lorenzo Wells set up a fishing spot along the shore line hoping for a big catch.
"When it rains like this the big blue cats is biting. Come down here with some stinky chicken liver. You're going to catch a big one, you better be ready for them," said Wells.
Wells says the high water comes with the territory in Scottsville, and that he was used to seeing such high waters.
"It hasn't gotten as bad as it used to be years ago," said Wells. "This is minor, just a little swelling, good cleaning the river out. It's good for it."
Drivers had to take extra precautions with flooding on roadways throughout Central Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Transportation says dozens of secondary roads are closed due to high water. All nine counties in the Culpeper District are affected, from Fauquier south through Albemarle and a total of 78 are reported closed at this hour.
Officials say the numbers and areas affected will change through the day as streams near the mountains begin to recede and the floodwaters surge into streams and rivers to the east.
Albemarle Co. Police tweeted the following shortly before noon today:
Traffic alert - Scottsville Road at Rt. 53 is closed to all southbound traffic due to a damaged roadway.— AlbemarleCoPolice (@AlbemarleCoPD) May 16, 2014
Drivers should check VDOT’s traffic information web site, www.511Virginia.org, for the latest information on road closures and weather conditions.