Increased rainfall wreaks havoc

Published 12:19 pm Thursday, December 6, 2018

More than a foot of additional rain has fallen in the Farmville region in 2018 so far compared with years past, according to area records.

WFLO, in a media release dated Nov. 30, cited that the total rainfall for 2018 so far is 53.57 inches, compared to an average year to date total of 39.63 inches.

This, according to the release, “resulted in a rain surplus of 13.94 inches for the year to date.”

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The area has seen a number of storms in the past year that has resulted in heavy flooding, washouts on roads and park trails, widespread power outages, downed trees and marked structural damages.

In an October release from WFLO, the radio station cited that the Farmville area received a total of 7.51 inches of rainfall for the month of October. According to the radio station’s weather records, on Thursday, Oct. 11, at the time when flooding from Tropical Storm Michael occurred, the radio station recorded 6.18 inches of rainfall in the area.

Earlier in the year, areas in Buckingham County and Town of Farmville, including the FACES Food Pantry and the Islamic Center of Prince Edward County, were flooded due to heavy rainfall and overflow of the Appomattox River in May.

These records come as the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season has been declared to come to an end, according to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) on Monday.

VDEM cited in the release that the high volumes of rain, high winds, tornados and river, coastal and inland flooding due to the hurricane season, most notably due to hurricanes Florence and Michael, have created damage to infrastructure and other aftereffects that have impacted the region.

“This season hurricanes produced 17 confirmed tornadoes, historic flooding and 10 fatalities in Virginia,” the release cited. “Seventy-seven localities across the Commonwealth have ongoing active disaster recoveries for 2018.”

Two fatalities occurred in neighboring Charlotte County as a result of Tropical Storm Michael.

Jeff Caldwell, director of public relations with VDEM, confirmed that Prince Edward, Cumberland and Buckingham counties are among a list of counties that are undergoing long-term, active recovery efforts as a result of Hurricanes Florence and Michael.

“That could be everything from working with us to secure Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for reimbursment for their activities in responding to the storm,” Caldwell said. “It could be working on projects to rebuild things that were damaged or destroyed during those storms, or it could be on assessing damages to apply for long-term grant funding and recovery resources.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reported serious challenges on area roadways due to flooding this year, according to representative Paula Jones.

“In various locations of the Lynchburg District, we have had to deal with significant infrastructure damage from several major rainstorms, not just from Michael and Florence,” Jones said. “Beyond this damage, the weather has taken a toll on our mowing operations. Even when we have been able to mow, the moisture has led to the growth of more grass. The rain, too, has created issues with drainage structures and roadway shoulders. These storms have, in some cases, also brought down or damaged numerous trees. These have had to be removed or trimmed, as time and safety have permitted.”

Jones said VDOT is making plans to address and prevent flooding on roadways for 2019.

“VDOT inspects and reviews its drainage systems when there are known issues,” Jones said. “However … this was an unusual year and one cannot ‘build’ for all possibilities. We will continue our reviews and take any steps necessary to address any safety-related concerns. What we cannot control is the weather.”

VDEM cited steps that people can take to prepare for potential storms. These include visiting to learn flood risk for one’s home and business and contacting an insurance agent or calling the National Flood Insurance Program at 888-379-9531 or visit to find an agent to review and purchase a flood insurance policy. It takes 30 days for a flood insurance policy to take effect, so the time to prepare for spring flooding and 2019 season is now, according to VDEM officials.

“All Virginians should take simple steps to prepare for a hurricane by storing critical documentation in a safe place, documenting the condition of their property before damages occur using their cameras and smartphones, purchasing emergency preparedness items and by making a family communication plan,” officials from VDEM cited.