Rains Could Send James River to Highest Level Since 2003

By Associated Press

November 13, 2020

Flood waters are expected to crest later today in Richmond.

RICHMOND — Many of Virginia’s rivers were swollen by heavy rain Thursday, creating the threat of flooding in some portions and prompting high-water rescues elsewhere in the state.

Officials in Richmond were led to close two gates on the city’s floodwall, the first time that’s happened since 1999. A forecast from the National Weather Service said the James River is expected to crest at 18.5 feet (5.6 meters) at one of Richmond’s gauges later Friday. The forecast is a half-foot (15 centimeters) lower than the previous projection, but the James River is still on track for its highest flood in 17 years.

The National Weather Service said river flooding has either begun or will occur on a portion of the South Anna and Rappahannock rivers. In each case, forecasters say the flooding will be minor.

To the west, low-lying points of the Roanoke Valley were flooded and several drivers had to be rescued from high water after heavy rains fell over the region.

Roanoke reported one water rescue around midmorning, and Salem officials said its regional swift water team was deployed several times for vehicle rescues.

Although the precipitation tapered off, water levels in some spots weren’t expected to recede until later Friday.

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