Sun in the forecast after rain, floods on Peninsula

Flooding closes roads, schools on Peninsula; sunny stretch in the forecast

The Peninsula-area did not receive record-breaking rainfall during the last several days, but the flooding was the longest-lasting in at least two decades.

The rain resulted in 10 to 12 tide cycles in the lower Chesapeake Bay with at least minor flooding, National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Sammler said. The most recent storm to come close to that was a nor'easter in November 2007 that caused seven cycles of flooding.

The region didn't come close to breaking rainfall records, but hasn't received this much rain in a single event since 2012, Sammler said.

"(It's) the most significant event we've had since Sandy," he said.

The most rainfall recorded in the area since Thursday was 8 to 9 inches in Smithfield, Sammler said. Other areas varied, he said, but in general, less rain fell in the northern areas of the Peninsula.

The Newport News International Airport recorded just less than 4 inches, Sammler said. Parts of Gloucester recorded 3 to 5 inches.

Meteorologists at the weather service office in Wakefield expect the rain to be gone by Tuesday morning. The forecast calls for mostly sunny weather with high temperatures in the 70s.

"It's about where we should be this time of year," Sammler said.

We'll likely have at least three to four days of dry weather before the chance of rain returns, he said.

While there was little rain Monday, flooding continued to be a problem. Many local roads were not passable, resulting in school closures and delays.

Along Harris Creek Road in Hampton, flooding made the road behind Finn Point Lane impassible two hours before high tide.

Shane Klema's driveway is about a half-mile inland from where the water rose on Monday. He came home from work early to make sure he could get his truck up the drive to his house, which sits about 200 yards from the water.

"Yesterday, it got pretty high," Klema said. "It was about waist deep in the yard. … I'm from South Carolina, I'm kinda used to going through hurricanes and stuff like this. I didn't realize how high the tide got (here), but I'm all right with it. I'm not worried about anything."

At Gosnold's Hope Park, the main road leading to water's edge was blocked to vehicles but that didn't stop people from enjoying the park. Several men attempted to fish on increasingly windy and choppy surf, and lots of dogs were being walked by owners.

"We've had just simple nor'easters, over where I live on Galveston Court, that were worse than what's hit us here," said Brian Ribblett, walking his three dogs. "I didn't have to move anything. I kept an eye on it, now, but the water never got past about a foot on the wheels there."

Here's a roundup of the storm's local effects:

Newport News

Portions of several streets remained flooded and closed as of Monday afternoon, such as Buxton Avenue, 27th Street, 19th Street and Cedar Avenue, city spokeswoman Kim Lee said.

Apartment managers at City Line Apartments, near Newmarket Creek, evacuated the apartments Thursday and Friday.

The Fall Festival of Folklife was canceled in Newport News because of the storm, and will not be rescheduled. The Newport News Golf Course was closed Friday.

Garbage, recycling and bulk waste collections did not take place Monday. Collection will be moved back a day this week.

Hampton

Preliminary estimates from the weekend's flooding indicated that 30 structures had been damaged in Hampton, according to city spokeswoman Robin McCormick. Seven of those had major damage. The total estimated price tag was just more than $1.3 million.

City Manager Mary Bunting said the flooding was higher than flooding from 1999's Hurricane Floyd, but not quite what the city saw when Hurricane Isabel swept through in 2003.

"We're lucky that it wasn't as bad as it could have been," she said Monday. Flooding was mostly contained to the expected tidal flood areas.

Parts of 44 roads were closed during Sunday afternoon's 6.5-foot high tides, according to an emergency alert from the city. About a dozen roads were closed during high tide Monday afternoon.

Isle of Wight County

Several low-lying areas in Smithfield and Carrollton continued to experience tidal flooding Monday.

There were no major incidents during the weekend, county spokesman Don Robertson said, but there were reports of cars getting stuck on flooded streets after drivers ignored signs and cones, particularly where South Church Street meets the Pagan River near Smithfield Station.

Poquoson

Flood-prone Poquoson sustained high water throughout the area, with outlying streets becoming completely covered and impassable during high tide. The Wythe Creek Road connector through Hampton was closed after a portion of the causeway became flooded, and numerous small streets were closed at times.

The flood waters have been slow to recede because of persistent rain and wind, but residents for the most part moved their vehicles to public parking lots and waited.

City officials reported that the Messick Point floating dock was damaged and is closed until further notice.

York County

Several weekend events were canceled in York County as the worst of the coastal storm produced tidal flooding.

County officials opened two parking lots to allow residents to move their vehicles to higher ground.

"The county experienced mostly moderate tidal flooding in a number of low-lying areas," York County spokeswoman Gail Whittaker wrote in an email. "During periods of flooding, numerous roads were impassable, water was up in some yards and there have been reports of flooding into garages, utility rooms/spaces as well as some home entryways.

"We have not received any reports of flooding into living spaces of homes or into businesses, although it is possible that some occurred and we haven't been notified. "

Gloucester County

The Army National Guard brought in two high-water vehicles to assist fire and rescue crews in low-lying areas of Gloucester County during the weekend. Fortunately, they weren't needed, officials said.

Christi Lewis, spokeswoman for Gloucester County, wrote in an email Monday that the Guardsmen drove the vehicles through several flooded areas to check on citizens both Saturday and Sunday. The vehicles were on standby about 10 p.m. Saturday when Abingdon Volunteer Fire and Rescue crews were called out to help three people stuck in a car in a ditch on Perrin Creek Road.

The driver drove off the road after a small amount of water on the roadway made it difficult to see, according to Abdington Fire and Rescue spokesman Robert Parlett. No one was injured. The Guardsmen from Portsmouth left Monday morning.

Gloucester County opened a relocation center at the Gloucester Moose Lodge for residents affected by the flooding from Sunday morning to Monday, but Lewis said no guests used it.

Mathews County

The low-lying areas of Mathews County that typically flood during storms saw water levels rise during the weekend, according to Sheriff Mark Barrick.

"It was the normal areas that experience flooded roads when we get these type of nor'easter storms that saw problems, but no significant impacts," Barrick said. "Very few trees down and no major power outages. We were lucky. We dodged a big bullet."

Diggs resident Roger Emig said his home was completely surrounded by water but nothing like what he saw during Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

"But we didn't lose power, that's the best thing," he said.

Williamsburg/James City

Williamsburg and James City County experienced power outages Saturday evening but there were no lingering effects Monday, according to James City County officials.

The bulk of the outages were in James City County west and south of Williamsburg, according to the online outage map provided by Dominion Virginia Power. Some of the outages were caused by a safety mechanism that detects something laying on the line and cuts the circuit to entire neighborhoods.

Power was restored to almost all customers in the Williamsburg-James City County area around 11 p.m.

Staff writers Ryan Murphy, Jennifer Williams, Frances Hubbard, Ali Rockett, Theresa Clift, Jane Hammond and Sarah J. Ketchum contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2017, The Virginia Gazette
43°