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Posted May 19, 2011 | comments 3 Comments

Water, water everywhere

Counties deal with aftermath of storms, brace for more rain

By Ben Orcutt - borcutt@nvdaily.com

Shenandoah County has felt the worst impact from the heavy rainstorms that have swept through the region this week, and is still coping with the aftermath.

"Most of the rain actually fell in the southern portions of the county according to our electronic rain gauges that we monitor," Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue Chief Gary Yew said Wednesday.

"We're experiencing flooding just about all throughout the county."

Yew said it would be difficult to say that one particular spot in the county was hit any worse than another.

"Being that the ground was so saturated prior to [Tuesday's] rain it didn't take much rain at all for the small streams to get out of their banks and for areas in the roadways where there's poor drainage to begin with [to become flooded]," Yew said.

Yew said officials expected the North Fork of the Shenandoah River to crest in Strasburg on Wednesday afternoon or evening. No one has had to be evacuated, he said.

There also were no water rescues, Yew said.

"We had one potential early [Wednesday] morning about 5 a.m. there was a car stranded on a low-water bridge," Yew said.

"Fire and EMS were dispatched, but the occupants were able to get out of their vehicle prior to their arrival. Mostly the fire and EMS [have] been pretty busy with flooded basements around the county.

"We're starting to see some of the small streams recede in the southern part of the county presently. The problem is we're still watching for the potential for rainfall [Wednesday] afternoon yet with isolated thunderstorms, so that could certainly exacerbate the situation we've got right now. We currently have over 60 roads closed in the county."

One of the roads closed for high water was U.S. 11 at Meems Bottom.

There were no road closures reported in Clarke or Frederick counties on Wednesday.
Carrie Suffern, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Baltimore-Washington Forecast Office in Sterling, said a storm total of 3.4 inches of rain was reported at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday 2 miles south of Winchester.

"We're expecting [Wednesday] evening of course some more showers and thunderstorms and another quarter or about half an inch of rain accumulation and underneath or near the heaviest showers and thunderstorms we could see another inch or two of rain," Suffern said. "Got another tenth of an inch [today] and then Friday we're going to start drying out. So totals or additional rainfall amounts between a quarter up to an inch."

In Front Royal, interim Town Manager Steven M. Burke said that a portion of Eighth Street had to be closed on Tuesday due to high water, and there was minor flooding at different locations throughout town.

"We haven't had any major road closures again other than Eighth Street," Burke said. "We were able to weather this storm event with minimal impact."

In Warren County, low-water bridges remained closed on Wednesday at Morgan Ford Road and in Bentonville, along with a portion of Mountain Road at the fish hatchery and Ritenour Hollow Road, which is off Reliance Road.

Warren County Fire and Rescue Chief Richard E. Mabie said the South Fork of the Shenandoah River was expected to crest at 10 feet and the North Fork at 15 feet.
"But neither one of those cause us any real problems and we really didn't have any major issues when it was raining itself," Mabie said. "It's kind of like we couldn't have [taken] 15 more minutes of that heavy rain. It's kind of like it cut off when it needed to, to keep from causing us major problems. We had water standing on some of our normal low spots, but no major difficulties at all."

3 Comments | Leave a comment

    Each time the North Fork floods, Deer Rapids gets attention drawn to the fact that residents living in that neighborhood are stranded.

    I want to take this moment to draw attention to another neighborhood, Black Bear Crossing, which is located just a few miles South of Deer Rapids.

    Residents in Black Bear Crossing do not have a foot bridge, so the term flooded and stranded means much more to them than it does to the residents of Deer Rapids. Black Bear residents must choose to abandon their home and relocate tempoarily with friends, family, or at a hotel, or must choose to stay inland at their home and wait it out.

    Compare the picture of the man crossing the footbridge in Deer Rapids to the picture I've taken our Black Bear Crossing, View Picture.

    Notice that we do not have a foot bridge. Black Bear residents would love to have a footbridge, so we wouldn't have to abandon our homes each time it floods.

    Wow! It is bad that there is no foot bridge for you all. I am wondering who paid for the foot bridge at Deer Rapids? Why cant one be put in for you all? What a dangerous situation. If there was a life threatening situation no one could get in to help. More attenion needs to be brought up. I didn't know about this, I am sure many others dont know. If the problem is money from the state, county, whoever maybe fundraisers could be held. There has to be something that can be done. I would help any way I could. I'm sure many others would if they knew about the situation. I hope something will be done. I hope many people will see your comment and photos. Good luck to you and keep trying to bring attention to this.

    If the residents of Black Bear want a footbridge so badly, why don't they gather the necessary funds and have one built? Oh...you want the county/state (i.e. us taxpayers) to pay for it. I'd like an exit ramp from the interstate that leads directly to my driveway. But since it wasn't here when I bought my house, and I don't think anyone else wants to pay for it, I'm pretty sure it ain't gonna happen.

    I am quite confident that no footbridge existed and the bridge and river levels were pretty much the same when every member of that community either bought or built a house there. So you knew very well what you were getting into. So why expect the rest of us to bail you out?

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