ROANOKE, Va. – This week, southwest and central Virginia voters visited the polls and had no weather concerns.
That was not the case 35 years ago as one of the worst weather disasters in this region’s history unfolded, the Flood of ’85.
The flood killed 10 people in the Roanoke Valley and damages were estimated at $225 million.
The culprit for the heavy rain and flooding? The remnants of Hurricane Juan and a stalled front. Some areas received almost a foot of rain from Halloween to Election Day.
All of that rain caused area rivers to rise, especially the Roanoke River. To this day, it’s the highest the river has crested, at over 23 feet. For perspective, our heavy rain back in May caused the river to crest at under 16 feet.
After the historic flooding, the city of Roanoke completed a $72 million flood mitigation project and that has helped recent events not be as devastating as that tragic week in 1985.