Area avoids major flooding from Ian

Published 8:30 pm Monday, October 3, 2022

The region dodged a bullet Monday, Oct. 3, when remnants of Hurricane Ian failed to bring historic flooding that forecasters had predicted.

High tide topped out at 5.21 feet Monday afternoon at Sewell’s Point at Norfolk Naval Station, some 2 feet lower than National Weather Service meteorologists had predicted just 24 hours earlier. The projected flooding would have been the region’s sixth highest on record, rivaling Ash Wednesday in 1962 and Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

Normal trouble spots like South Church Street and Commerce Street in Smithfield and Rescue Road at Battery Park were under water and closed to vehicular traffic at high tide Saturday and again Monday evening, but no structures were threatened.

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Meteorologists credited a slight change in wind direction Monday to the north-northwest for the significant reduction in tidal flooding.

Isle of Wight County Schools canceled Monday classes in anticipation of unsafe travel conditions for buses and cars.

Saturday’s Bacon & Bourbon Fest was also a casualty of Ian.

Smithfield VA Events, the festival’s organizer, announced via its Facebook page on Sept. 29 that “out of concern for the safety of our volunteers, attendees and vendors, the Town of Smithfield has closed the venue site and requested that we mitigate the potential for projective hazards by clearing the site of tents.” This, combined with the town’s reallocation of its emergency services in preparation for the storm, coupled with Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s declaring a state of emergency, “prevents us from moving forward to hold the festival.”

“Smithfield VA Events is truly disappointed to make this announcement,” the Facebook post stated. “We will be working with our cancellation insurance company to deliver any potential refunds possible within the terms dictated by our policy.”

The area received about 2.5 inches of rain Thursday and Friday as Ian, which caused major damage on Florida’s Gulf coast, blew back ashore in South Carolina.

Beautiful fall weather is in store the rest of this week with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s on Oct. 5 and 6 before cooling with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s over the weekend.