Flooding closes roads, schools

Published 10:57 am Thursday, November 12, 2020

Hours of sustained heavy rain caused flooding throughout Isle of Wight County and the region on Nov. 12.

“Many roadways in IOW currently have water flowing across them and there is deep water across the roadways in some areas,” Isle of Wight officials said. “Please stay off the roads if at all possible today.”

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning, which was in effect throughout most of the day for the region, including Isle of Wight, Southampton County, Franklin and Suffolk. In a weather update around 9:15 a.m., the weather service said up to 3.5 inches of rain had fallen in the past few hours. On Nov. 16, the weather service confirmed that 4.96 inches of rain fell on Nov. 12, exceeding the previous record precipitation of 4.9 inches for the day in 2009.

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Around midday, “we have been and are experiencing some moderate flooding on roadways in the south and central parts of the county,” said Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office Capt. Tommy Potter. “Route 460 was shut down for a period of time as the waters covered the roadway near the intersection of Route 460 and Yellow Hammer Road. We have additional secondary roadways that are impassable due to flooding and we will continue to monitor those roadways throughout the day.”

At least one road in Smithfield was also affected by high water. Smithfield Town Manager Michael Stallings reported that Great Springs Road at the intersection of Quail Street was closed due to flooding. 

Due to the flooding and hazardous road conditions, Surry County Public Schools operated with virtual only instruction on Nov. 12. Officials made the decision the day before to close all school buildings, including the school board office, and to direct staff members not to report to work in person.

Isle of Wight County Schools dismissed one hour early due to standing water on roadways. The early dismissal “will allow buses to deliver students home prior to sunset, which enhances visibility for our drivers,” school system spokeswoman Lynn Briggs said. The school division also canceled a School Board meeting scheduled for Nov. 12. The meeting is now set for 5 p.m. Nov. 18 at Georgie D. Tyler Middle School in Windsor.