ALLEGHANY COUNTY, Va. – It’s the third annual Flood Awareness Week in Virginia and our corner of the Commonwealth is no stranger to the risks from rising and rushing water.
“Virginia has diverse terrain and flooding impacts all parts of the state in variable ways,” Angela Davis said. She’s the Floodplain Program Planner with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
One of the most significant recent floods in our area happened in June 2016, when the western part of Alleghany County received eight to ten inches of rain in a 12-hour period.
“It was a deluge of water that came into Alleghany County and the water levels jumped very fast,” Alleghany County Director of Public Safety Ryan Muterspaugh said.
We met Muterspaugh at Humpback Bridge, which runs over Dunlap Creek in western Alleghany County, last month and he painted the picture of what he saw that day with his words.
“In the area we’re standing right now, it came up to almost the bottom of the bridge. It crested right at 18 feet, which is almost double flood stage,” Muterspaugh said.
Mitigation efforts like streambank restoration and acquisition of flood-prone properties could help with future floods, but residents should also be ready for the next one.
“We tell people to be prepared, have a plan, have supplies and know what you’re gonna do ahead of time so you’re not scrambling at the last minute,” Muterspaugh said.