Rain, rain and more rain – but no hurricane this time

Published 2:17 pm Wednesday, October 7, 2015

By Diana McFarland

News editor

Cancelled events, stranded school buses, flooded roads and cotton seed sprouting in the bolls are just some of the problems encountered last week and weekend as the area was soaked by about 10 inches— or more — of rain over as many days.

Hampton Roads missed the bullet when it came to Hurricane Joaquin, but the two weeks of rain has been especially hard on farmers.

“I’m in unchartered territory,” said farmer Rex Alphin, who reported that seeds were sprouting in the cotton bolls and wondered if peanuts were doing the same as both crops sit in wet field too muddy to harvest.

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“It looks catastrophic,” Alphin said.

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Longview farmer Jimmy Oliver said the cotton crop had looked good — until it started raining back in September.

The rain hurts the quality of the cotton, but Oliver hopes the soybeans and milo hold up until it dries out.

As for harvesting those crops, “it will be a tough battle to get in (the fields),” Gwaltney said.

Alphin said there’s “a bunch of sick, worried farmers” out there.

The Scotland-Jamestown Ferry alternately stopped, started and operated at reduced capacity over the weekend and early this week as higher than normal tides made docking difficult, according to VDOT.

All the usual roads flooded in Isle of Wight County, including Nike Park and Battery Park roads.

In all, the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office responded to 19 accident calls from Thursday through Monday — up from an average of 11 for the same time period last month, said Lisa Martin with the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office.

Although the call volume increased, most were fairly minor, such as a vehicle in a ditch or hydroplaning, she added.

One of those was a bus from Isle of Wight Academy that ended up in a ditch on Reynolds Drive and needed to be pulled out, but no one was hurt, said Headmaster Benjamin Vaughan, adding that the road has no shoulder.

Meanwhile, Isle of Wight County schools students were sent to school Friday, only to be dismissed early, and on Monday, schools started two hours late due to the weather.

Many events were cancelled, including Smithfield’s Bacon. Bourbon and Beach Music festival, and wasn’t rescheduled. Only two vendors — Boroughs and Griffin farms — braved the rain Saturday for the Smithfield Farmers Market, where few shoppers dared to tread.

Ditto for high school football games and nearly anything else held outside.

It appears the area will get a chance to dry out as weather predictions call for dry conditions the rest of the week.