Tropical Storm Ophelia’s rain, winds lash Isle of Wight and Surry

Published 10:15 am Friday, September 22, 2023

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 9:45 a.m. Saturday with the latest on Tropical Storm Ophelia.

Heavy rain and wind pounded Isle of Wight and Surry after Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall in southeast North Carolina early Saturday.

The storm was expected to slow down as it moved north through North Carolina, passing west of our area in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Smithfield had received more than an inch of rain as of mid-morning Saturday, with another inch expected by Sunday morning. Some 50 homes in Isle of Wight County were without power as of 10 a.m. Saturday, according to Dominion Energy.

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The Jamestown-Scotland Ferry suspended operations at high tide early Saturday but resumed limited operations by mid-morning.

Isle of Wight County Schools sent students and staff home two hours early Friday and canceled all after-school activities in preparation for Ophelia, whose outer bands reached Isle of Wight mid-afternoon.

Surry County Public Schools canceled after-school activities.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency as the storm approached.

Friday afternoon update

Isle of Wight and Surry counties remain under tropical storm and storm surge warnings.

As of 2:21 p.m. on Friday, the NWS was forecasting wind speeds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph. The storm surge warning means life-threatening flooding 2 to 4 feet above ground level is possible as rising water moves inland from the coastline.

Smithfield High School’s home football game against Lafayette, originally scheduled for tonight, has been postponed to 5:30 p.m. Monday.

The Smithfield Farmers Market on Saturday morning has been canceled.

The Jamestown-Scotland Ferry has reduced its operations to a single ferry boat due to high tide levels and sustained winds of up to 35 mph, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced. High water prevents the loading ramps on the docks from safely being raised and lowered onto ferry boats.

VDOT is advising motorists traveling from Surry to Jamestown who need an alternative to the ferry to take Route 10 to Route 258 to the James River Bridge and follow signs for I-64 west. From there, exit onto Route 199 west (exit 242A) toward Williamsburg and follow to Route 31.