1½ inches of rain falls on Western Tidewater

Published 9:06 am Friday, February 8, 2013

FRANKLIN—The 1½ inches of rain that began falling Thursday evening in Western Tidewater is not expected to affect the water levels on the Blackwater and Nottoway rivers, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Larry Brown.

River levels shouldn’t change much because the basins upstream and mountains didn’t get much rain, Brown said.

“The latest forecast is 9 to 10 feet by Monday or Tuesday (for the Blackwater),” he said.

Flood stage is 12 feet, which is when the river starts leaving its banks. Low-lying areas would be impacted. The river would need to get to 20 feet before affecting the downtown. The river rose to 26.27 feet when Hurricane Floyd flooded the downtown in September 1999.

Brown expects the rain to let up on Friday morning, but there could be isolated showers that dump another ½ inch.

“We needed the rain,” he said. “Going into winter, we’ve had several hot, relatively dry summers and last winter we had no winter and it was dry.

Brown noted the area has been in a long-term drought, but not a major drought.

“This kind of rain helps,” he said. “In the summer, you can get a lot of rain from thunderstorms and it runs off. This time of the year when we get rain, it helps replenish the groundwater necessary for wells and lakes. So this has been pretty good.”

As for the weekend, Saturday and Sunday are expected to be dry while reaching the 40s and 50s, respectively. It’s expected to rain ¼ to ½ inch late Sunday into Monday.

“This will be much less rain from a quick moving (front),” Brown said.

No flooding was reported in Southampton County, said Major Gene Drewery with the sheriff’s office.