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Evacuation order lifted; Falling Creek dam levels decrease

Posted at 1:59 PM, Aug 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-16 20:34:29-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- People who live in the more than 150 homes in the "danger path" downstream from the Falling Creek Dam in North Chesterfield were allowed to return to their homes Sunday afternoon.

Chesterfield officials said the evacuation order was issued "out of an abundance of caution" Saturday evening for several neighborhoods near the dam.

However, officials said levels at the dam had decreased as of Sunday morning.

A county spokesperson said several roads and intersections across the county remain closed Sunday.

"Residents and businesses are urged to plan their travel, if necessary, across the county, and to adhere to all road closures and barriers put in place by law enforcement and transportation officials," officials said.

Additionally, officials urged folks to not to swim, kayak or boat in county lakes, ponds, creeks and rivers.

"Floodwaters carry swift currents with lots of debris and wildlife," officials warned.

After parts of the county received more than 7 inches of rainfall in less than 24 hours, Chesterfield County Administrator Dr. Joe Casey issued a local emergency declaration Saturday afternoon.

"The emergency declaration allows for the immediate activation of the county’s Emergency Operations Center, along with the deployment of employees and resources to address and monitor weather conditions, the status of our infrastructure, and take additional safeguards to protect people and property, if necessary," officials said.

Homes in the 'danger path'

Chesterfield Police posted a highlighted map showing the homes in the "danger path of the water" Saturday evening after Falling Creek was recorded at more than 100 feet as of 5:45 p.m., which is a stage three flood advisory for that dam.

“There is hundreds of residents that we were making contact with," Chesterfield Fire Battalion Chief Sal Luciano explained. "Not everybody will come to the shelter. If they have a way to go to another location, they can do that on their own, but this is a mandatory evacuation.”

Meadowbrook High School opened at 7 p.m. as a shelter. The Chesterfield County Animal Shelter was also opened yo accept pets from those evacuated by Chesterfield Police and Fire & EMS crews.