49ºF

Cars, businesses suffer damage as flash flooding hits Roanoke

Roads looked more like rivers in downtown

ROANOKE, Va. – Severe storms and flash flooding hit across the area Thursday evening.

Bedford and Franklin counties, as well as Roanoke, saw about 3 to 4 inches of rain per an hour.

Rain flooded streets and businesses and even partially submerged cars.

Crews even responded to a swift-water rescue in the Star City.

While most of the rain is gone, some places are dealing with the aftermath.

Roads looked more like rivers in downtown Roanoke Thursday evening.

"It was pouring, You could barely even see," said Phillip Trump, who was driving downtown as the water began to rise.

The water quickly rose into several business in the downtown area.  Bayou Snowballs on Campbell Avenue also had to close early after water came rushing through their doors.

"(It) kept coming and there was so much of it and the people driving down the street kept sloshing water into our store and things got a lot worse before they got better," said Cabell Eggleston, who works at the shop.

The restaurant Bushi just opened on May 19 and also had to fight back the floodwaters. The restaurant next door called to warn them that the area is prone to flooding.

"I told my staff I was getting some supplies and they were like, 'We're good. It's not flooding. The drain's going down great.' And then, like five minutes later, they called, they were like, 'It's flooding,'" said Jonathan Kelly, who works at Bushi.  

On Salem Avenue, water up to the mirrors caused cars to stall out and a few to be swept away. Phillip Trump ended up on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge.

"The water was coming up, I realized that the cars in front of me were not moving and my engine started to kind of act like it was gonna give way. So the first thing I did as soon as I saw this bridge here was just cut the wheel and come up over the curb, trying to save my engine," said Trump. 

Trump was making food deliveries to a nearby apartment when he stumbled onto the flooded roadways.

"(A police officer) was able to walk over and meet me and I then I was like, 'OK, now what do I do,'" said Trump.

The police and a few bystanders helped Trump get his car off the bridge as the floodwaters quickly receded.


About the Author: