Residents prepare for possibility of flooding in city’s most vulnerable areas

Posted at 6:02 PM, Sep 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-11 18:13:01-04

RICHMOND, Va. — With Florence just, days away from making landfall, the City of Richmond is clearing drains in flood prone neighborhoods and making sure the James River flood wall is in good shape.

Earlier this year, several days of storms washed out roads on the city’s east side and flooded neighborhoods on Richmond’s southside

“That’s one thing we are concerned about, just the amount of rainfall in 48 hours,” said Bob Tierney, who owns a business in Shockoe Valley.

“We’ve started talking about strategies to make up time this week with the employees and evacuation plans,” he continued.

Heavy rainfall will overspread Virginia on Friday with tropical storm force winds possible on Saturday, especially across Southside Virginia.

Some projections predict upwards of 20 inches of rain in some areas with generally eight to 10 and 12 to 15 inches across over half the Commonwealth,” according to Jeff Stern, State Coordinator with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

Tierney says the forecast looks all too familiar.

“During Hurricane Gaston, this was three or four feet deep and there were class three or four rapids going through here,” he said.

Tierney told CBS 6 that he vividly remembers water consuming Shockoe Bottom 14 years ago.

“At the time, we were all upstairs in that building over there watching, the flood came up in our atrium, two or three feet deep,” Tierney recalled. “The cars really got shoved up against the floodwall. There were cars upside down and just all crumbled together, all up against the floodwall.”

Monday, Richmond Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Robert Steidel said the James River floodwall passed its most recent round of testing this past June.

Brooklynn Brown drives for a living and told CBS 6 she only hopes the city’s infrastructure will hold up through Hurricane Florence, but she’s preparing for the worst.

“Richmond’s flooding is terrible even if it’s just a simple thunderstorm, so I know flooding is going to be bad, no matter what, I know it’s going to be really bad,” said Brown.

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