HENRY COUNTY, Va. – Route 220 in Henry County experienced an unprecedented flash flood early Friday morning.
According to VDOT, around 30 to 40 cars were trapped by rising water when the National Weather Service declared a Flash Flood Emergency for parts of the county. The water started receding around noon, and the emergency expired at 2:30 in the afternoon.
One of the most impacted areas was Route 220 in Bassett Forks, a quarter mile north of its interchange with Route 57 and Route 220 Business.
Henry County Public Safety Chief Matt Tatum said the flooding was caused by two concurrent rainstorms: one overnight, and another early in the morning.
“I don’t ever recall the water on 220 ever being that high,” Tatum said. “I’ve worked and lived in this community all my life...I’m not going to say I’ve never seen it, but not to the level that it was this morning.
The NWS says between 4 and 5 inches of rain have fallen in the county.
Locations that experienced flash flooding include Bassett, Stanleytown, Fieldale, Sanville, Oak Level and Collinsville. Tatum said it took the work of emergency crews from all across the county to keep people safe.
“When we have events like today, we have very specialized training and equipment needed,” Tatum said. “Ridgeway, even though they’re on the other end of the county, their region of the community was not affected, so they deployed resources to the Bassett community.”
The Smith River water level was also higher than normal late Friday afternoon, but Tatum does not anticipate it to cause any further damage or complications in the county.