Wet weather whips up trouble for area

Published 8:53 am Friday, November 13, 2009

FRANKLIN—The Blackwater River will reach flood stage Saturday morning and crest at 13.7 feet by Monday morning, according to the latest National Weather Service forecast.

The projected river levels would be well short of the 26.4-foot crest during the flood of 1999 and 23 feet during a smaller flood in 2006. The Blackwater was at 7.78 feet and rising at 6:45 p.m. Thursday.

“You could see some minor flooding in the Franklin area, but not too much more than that,” said Keith Lynch, a hydrologist with the NWS in Wakefield. However, he said the river level is highly dependent on how much more rain falls in the area.

Southeastern Virginia received heavy rainfall as the result of a nor’easter and the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida, which made landfall earlier this week on the Gulf Coast. The National Weather Service put Western Tidewater under a flood warning Thursday morning, and total rainfall from the storm could range between 8 inches and 12 inches, with locally higher amounts possible.

Nearly four inches had been recorded by Wednesday afternoon.

Gov. Tim Kaine declared a state of emergency for Virginia Wednesday as the storm began to batter the area.

On Thursday, several roads in Southampton and Isle of Wight counties flooded during the heavy rain.

Rainfall and gusty winds are expected to taper off today as the storm system pulls away from the area, however some roads may still be impassible.

Detective Cpl. Richard Morris of the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office said that drivers should use caution as they travel around the area.

“Be careful when driving and limit driving to that which is necessary. Don’t get on the road if you don’t have to,” he said Thursday.

Paul D. Camp Community College and Southampton County Public Schools cancelled classes Thursday. Franklin City Public Schools opened, but closed early.

Isle of Wight County elementary schools were closed Thursday. Students were transported to Isle of Wight middle and high schools Thursday morning but were dismissed shortly thereafter.

The Isle of Wight County School Board meeting and work session scheduled for Thursday night have been rescheduled for Tuesday at Smithfield High School. The work session will begin at 11 a.m. and the School Board meeting will begin at noon.

Isle of Wight County and Southampton County schools are closed today. Franklin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Michelle Belle said they were “leaning” toward closing today, but a final decision hadn’t been made Thursday night.

The football game between Franklin and Windsor high schools was postponed until 7 p.m. Saturday.

A decision on the Southampton High School football game was going to be made this morning.

All Hampton Roads-area Department of Motor Vehicles offices, including the Courtland location, are expected to reopen today.

The Texie Camp Marks Children’s Center in Franklin will be open today, but there will be no transportation.