Heavy Rains Cause Minimal Damage
Flooding Keeps Shenandoah County Students At Home
Posted: February 1, 2013
HARRISONBURG — Torrential rain that fell through the night Wednesday and Thursday morning led to rampant flooding in Shenandoah County, closing roads and keeping students home from school for the day.
Superintendent B. Keith Rowland said even the alternate roads for some of the county’s more rural bus routes were deemed unsafe.
By 4:30 a.m. Thursday, 74 roads were closed in Shenandoah County. As of late afternoon, that number had shrunk to 29.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the Shenandoah River and its tributaries and flash flood warnings were in effect Thursday in much of the central Valley as the massive storm system that spawned tornadoes in the Deep South Wednesday moved through the area.
Wind advisories were also issued, with gusts forecast as high as 55 mph.
“We just didn’t think it was safe for us to be putting kids on buses,” Rowland said. “We have a different area to serve than the different [counties] around us.”
Lt. Darcy Dellinger with the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office said damage across the county was minor, amounting to just a few fallen trees.
“We made out well,” Dellinger said.
Rowland said he will decide whether to open Shenandoah County Schools early this morning after consulting with the Virginia Department of Transportation.
It was quieter to the south, where heavy rains had flooded only a few roads in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County early Thursday morning.
About 7,000 Harrisonburg residents were without power from 3 to 4 a.m. Thursday, said Brian O’Dell, general manager of Harrisonburg Electric Commission.
O’Dell said the cause of the outage was still under investigation, but technicians believe it was due to a problem with equipment, not the weather.
Deputy Chief Jeff Michael of Rockingham County Fire and Rescue said that despite the storm, it was a routine night.
“For us, it was a pretty slow night,” Michael said. “We didn’t have anything alarming.”
A portion of Hopkins Gap Road near Hawk Valley Lane in Fulks Run was closed for several hours due to water completely covering the roadway.
Spotswood Trail, near the foot of Massanutten Mountain close to Elkton, was closed overnight after a large tree fell, blocking both lanes of travel.
In Harrisonburg, crews closed a portion of Madison and North Liberty streets due to high water. Chicago Avenue was among other city streets where flooding affected travel Thursday.