Chesapeake residents deal with high water, no power after Matthew


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – High water in one neighborhood, downed trees on a power line in another, even a casket in a church cemetery out of the ground: All of that is left behind in Chesapeake now that Hurricane Matthew has come and gone.

10 On Your Side saw one casket out of the ground because of high water behind the Centerville Chapel AME Church on Fentress Road. A church member said he will put it back Tuesday.

“We were told that the storm wasn’t coming and Matthew changed its mind and came anyway, so were making the best of it,” Chesapeake resident Katy Moore said. “I don’t think we were all prepared for it but we’re enduring it.”

Photos: Culpepper Landing flooding

It’s been nearly 48 hours since Moore and her family have had electricity.

A tree that knocked down a power line on Old Mill Road near her home may possibly be to blame.

“We take one day at a time and make the best of it and just rally together as neighbors like we did when we had Isabel. We were out for four days with Isabel,” Moore said.

It could be longer this time because of Matthew. 10 On Your Side checked and at one point Monday afternoon, according to the Dominion Power website, more than 11,000 people in Chesapeake were without power. It’s not expected to be restored until Thursday.

Dominion Va. Power: 80 percent of Matthew outages restored

Moore said with no electricity, they’ve been spending lots of time getting to know the neighbors and doing what they can for food.

“The one neighbor cooked dinner for part of us yesterday. She has gas, so she was able to cook and the rest of us just ate whatever we could peanut butter and jelly and bananas and fruit and things like that,” she said.

Water covers many of the streets in the Culpepper Landing neighborhood. Residents are taking their chances driving, biking and even walking through the high water.

10 On Your Side met neighbors Adam Wagler and Jacob Siegel on their way back home from the grocery store.

“I never thought that this would get this much water,” Adam Wagler said.

“When we walked here, it was below all the houses so it looks like it’s just on the streets. More of an inconvenience than damage and problem,” Jacob Siegel said.

Photos: Damage from Hurricane Matthew

City officials say the flooding here is made worse by the fact that the Dismal Swamp Canal — where the neighborhood drains — is two feet higher than normal elevation.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has all of the flood gates open to the Dismal Swamp to alleviate some of the flooding.

Despite the challenges, residents are grateful.

“We’re thankful that no one was hurt. No damage was done to homes or people so we’re thankful for that,” Moore said.

City officials are asking for residents to be patient with them as they work to clean up. Click here to sign up for emergency alerts from the City of Chesapeake. You can also find out how to contact the city for non-emergencies.

A city official told 10 On Your Side, the USFW Great Dismal Swamp Refuge actually has a project that just started that will add additional water control structures to their interior ditch system. In the future, this will help them retain more water in the refuge during these types of events.