James River water level will double over next 12 hours and remain high

Posted at 12:10 PM, Sep 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-30 12:15:30-04

RICHMOND, Va. – Those who enjoy the James River will need to be aware of rising waters over the next few days, and take appropriate action.

Over the next 12 hours the James River water level will double; it is expected to rise six feet and maintain most of that height over the next few days, according to the National Weather Service.

There is rain in the forecast from Wednesday, Sept. 30 through Monday, Oct. 5.

On top of that, tropical moisture from Hurricane Joaquin will move into the region, and aided by lifting from the front, will bring heavy rain to much of Virginia Friday into Saturday.

By law, when water levels reach five feet and above at the Westham gauge (on the river left just upstream of the Huguenot Bridge) everyone on the river must wear a lifejacket.

The James River is already currently at that level.

James River water level. PHOTO: by NWS

James River water level. PHOTO: by NWS

When water levels are at nine feet or above, no one is allowed on the river without a high water permit.

According to the NWS, the James will reach 11.3 feet, just shy of the 12-foot flood stage, by 11 p.m. on Sept. 30.

It will maintain that level and then start dropping late Thursday, Oct. 1, only to rise again as more rain hits the area. By Saturday morning it will again be close to flood stage.

From Wednesday night until at least Sunday, it will be at the level required to wear a life jacket.

To get a high water permit from Fire Station 13 at 411 E. Commerce Rd., call 804-646-8296.

Projections for the river levels could be even higher early next week.

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