Virginia Beach begins to dry out after days of rainfall cause flooding

Photo courtesy: Virginia Beach Fire Dept.
Photo courtesy: Virginia Beach Fire Dept.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The City of Virginia Beach began to dry out Thursday after days of constant heavy rainfall.

This week, as much as 16 inches of rain was reported in some areas. According to Drew Lankford with Public Works, the drainage system is full and has limited flood control capacity. It’s going to take time for the water to drain. Until then, residents and motorists will likely encounter flooding.

Shawn Buchanan was stuck at his home on Rainbow Drive, near Independence Boulevard.

“It just flooded the whole neighborhood right here in the front. I had to pull my truck up out of the yard. It’s ridiculous,” he said.

A few houses down, neighbor Alex Critz spent the morning on the phone with insurance.

“First I woke up to a leaky roof, so that was fun, and then as my husband was leaving for work, he comes back in, I’m half asleep, he’s like, ‘Oh, we’re flooded,'” she said, recalling the morning before. Two of her cars were damaged by high water.

Lankford said the city fielded dozens of requests.

“We had a list a foot long today, of places to specifically go visit and do drain work, and there’s another list, twice that long, that will be following right behind that,” Lankford said.

One of those places was Woodlawn Avenue, near Shore Drive, where water filled in neighbors’ yards.

“We’ve still got a lot of places that have high water and we’re trying to do what we can. Our options are somewhat limited, but we are checking a lot of the storm drains and cleaning out where we need to,” he said.

Police Urge Drivers to Stay Off Flooded Roads

Thursday evening, the city said the following roads were still closed:

  • West Neck Road at West Neck Bridge
  • Indian River Road from Princess Anne Road to West Neck Road
  • Lynnhaven Parkway at Salem Middle School
  • Elbow Road from Salem Road to Roundhill Drive
  • South Independence from Princess Anne Road to Salem Road

The city said most roads should be open throughout Thursday night as flood waters recede.

Anthony Langone’s Wednesday morning commute became an all-day ordeal when he got stuck in floodwater near South Independence.

“The other end of Topaz…where it lets out onto Independence is waist deep and my car stalled out at 4:20 in the morning. I’ve been here ever since, trying to either get it to dry out a bit and turn over, which hasn’t succeeded, and then waiting for a three-hour tow, which still hasn’t arrived,” he said.

He had company. Nearly a dozen cars were stranded because of flooding on South Independence near Salem Road.

“Stop, turn around, go the other way because if you’re driving anything smaller than an F-150 or something of comparable size, you’re not getting through, and even then, you might not get through,” Langone said.

Shannon Connelly, who lived in an adjacent neighborhood planned to spend the day at home.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s crazy. I don’t know why. I guess all the sewers get full? I don’t know, but the whole neighborhood, all the way around, everywhere flooded,” she said.

Neighbor Mark and his 8-year-old daughter Mia found a different way to get around.

“Kayaking for fun is the best way to handle this flood,” Mia said.

Flooding has also been reported at Asheville Park (visitors cannot get past the entrance). West Neck Creek is full and is overtopping the banks onto the roadway.

Traffic Ops has been busy making 100 additional flooding signs and is assisting Storm Water in placing road closure and high water signs across the city.

The city is increasing staffing. Wednesday night, stormwater has an additional two-man crew with a vacuum truck working through the night. And Traffic Ops will have a 2-man crew for signals.

Lankford said the vacuum trucks will be out hitting the drainage system hard Thursday, when the system has had time to recede.

As for trash service, the message to residents is: “All trash and recycling collections are underway, but some delays can be expected due to the inclement weather. Please continue to leave your automated roll carts, yard debris, and bulky items at the curb and they will be serviced as soon as possible.”

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