Relentless rains swamp many areas of Southwest Virginia

Stephen Igo • Feb 11, 2018 at 5:51 PM

WISE — Swollen streams, closed roads and residents of some areas evacuated from their homes were the result of relentless rains throughout Saturday into Sunday across Southwest Virginia.

At 10 p.m. Saturday, Wise County Emergency Management (WCEM) declared a local state of emergency, opening shelters at Union High School, Appalachia High School and Coeburn Middle School. Wise County Department of Social Services and the Red Cross were also operating shelters, WCEM reported at 3 a.m. Sunday.

Several road closures in Wise County alone reported by Emergency Management Director Jessica Swiney at that hour included Cub Hollow Road, U.S. Route 23 at Robo's (located between Wise and Pound), 6th Avenue in Big Stone Gap, Bold Camp Road, Tate Springs/River Road, Toms Creek, North Inman Road, Banner Road, Dotson Creek Road, Old Indian Creek/Stephens Road, Fleming Road, Wallens Ridge Boulevard, South Fork Road, Kent Junction, Strawberry Patch Road, Guest River Road and Riverview Road (see va511.org for a complete listing).

Swiney reported evacuated areas included Wallens Ridge Boulevard, Frog Level, Ramsey, Beamontown, Indian Creek Road, Riverview and Andover. Minor power outages were also reported at Inman Village and the Bold Camp area. No injuries were reported in the 3 a.m. report.

Many areas in the region have been affected, including Lee, Scott, Wise and Dickenson counties. Several low-lying areas across the region, particularly the flood prone, have been inundated as the steady rainfall sent ditches overflowing across roads and filled creeks and streams to capacity or far beyond.

Shortly before 10 a.m. Sunday, the Virginia Department of Transportation counted at least 50 road closures in Wise, Dickenson, Lee and Scott counties. Motorists were advised to be alert for crews working to clear slide areas — also widely scattered across the region — and assessing high-water areas for road damage.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office also passed along a boil water alert for Jonesville water customers. At around 11 a.m. Sunday, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office also reported Highway 421 near the State Route 606 intersection was completely blocked by a mudslide.

At around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Wise County Public Schools announced schools would be closed on Monday.

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