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Rain brings flooding, wrecks, some power outages

Heavy rains and wind overnight and in to today resulted in widespread flooding, a few wrecks, and some scattered power outages.

And the worst — at least as far as rainfall — may be yet to come.

Robert Stonefield, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Virginia, said late Wednesday morning that Surry County would most likely see an additional 2 to 4 inches of rain by Thursday evening — “locally higher amounts towards the Blue Ridge.”

He said the rain and wind was a result of some tropical moisture spun off from Hurricane Eta, which is still in the Gulf of Mexico, expected to make landfall in Florida today.

Surry County Emergency Services Director John Shelton said the weather has already caused problems in the area.

“We’ve had several wrecks, we’ve got some small streams already out of their banks, and the larger streams are already full,” Shelton said.

Of particular concern is the water collecting in the roadways. Shelton has on numerous occasions echoed warnings for individuals not to attempt driving through water on the road — people are often surprised at how little water it takes for an automobile to slide or be washed away, with potentially tragic consequences.

Shelton said one complicating factor is that the region has been hit with so many heavy rains in recent weeks. He said Wednesday morning even before the latest rainfall started, the Department of Transportation was still working on buckled roads and washed-out bridges left from Tropical Storm Zeta, which swept through the area less than two weeks ago.

He said his office, along with the Department of Transportation and other county agencies, were out working wrecks, monitoring rivers and streams, and waiting to see just how much rainfall the area would receive.

Along with the stormy weather came a few scattered power outages. Both Surry Electric Membership Cooperation and Duke Energy reported small, scattered outages in and around Surry County Wednesday. Across the border in Virginia, American Electric Power Company reported more outages, with one affecting customers from Hillsville down through Fancy Gap and into Cana.

Among the wrecks Wednesday morning were one NC 601 and another on Interstate 77, both of which resulted in traffic being rerouted for a time.

As for the forecast, Stonefield, from the National Weather Service, said it would likely continue raining in Surry County through Thursday evening, when a cold front would sweep through, pushing the rain to the south. He also said that front would keep Eta from marching up the coast, instead pushing it out to sea and away from this region.

Even with a cold front, Stonefield predicted temperatures will remain above normal for this time of year, with highs in the lower 60s once the front come through. As for rain, he said the region will most likely be able to dry out after Thursday.

“The next chance for even a spit of rain is Sunday night into Monday, then we’re dry again.”



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