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Swelling James River creeps closer to Claremont cottages

Posted at 8:14 PM, Oct 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-04 20:14:59-04

CLAREMONT, Va. -- After several days of relentless rain, roads in Claremont, a small town east of Petersburg on the James River, were under 6, 7 and even 8 inches of water.

The Garrett family's cottage was one of the hardest hit by this round of storms. They said they had been on high-alert since they first heard about Hurricane Joaquin.

"When we hear high winds we definitely push the panic button because we don`t know what is going to happen," explained Cheryl Garrert, who's family has owned the cottage on the river since 1965.

Garrett said the high winds and heavy rains brought flashbacks of Hurricane Isabel.

"The cottages all down here were gone. When we got the phone call, they said, 'Claremont’s gone.' And we’re going, 'What do you mean it’s gone? It’s not there anymore?'"

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High water on the James River in Claremont

The Garrett family said their cottage was one of the only ones still standing after Isabel. But the structure suffered a lot of damage.

"The water and wind went in and took the front wall out and basically sucked the furniture out of the front wall," she said.

This time around the Garretts did things a little differently and CBS 6 cameras were rolling as neighbors helped them load their furniture into a trailer.

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James River invades Claremont

The Garretts said they have learned from experience, adding that homeowners along the river have to be overly cautious.

In fact, after Isabel wiped out most of the properties, the homeowners were required to rebuild with stilts to keep them off the ground and away from water.

Families still working to bounce back from Isabel, are grateful Joaquin did not hit Central Virginia.

However, locals said the band of high winds and non-stop rain caused a lot of flooding and a lot of concern.

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