Events cancelled, weather warnings issued as Ophelia moves on

No, the rain isn’t expected to fully stop anytime soon today. In fact, Farmville and the surrounding area are now under a flash flood watch, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) station out of Wakefield. For that, you can thank Tropical Storm Ophelia. 

“Heavy rain is expected through early Sunday, as Tropical Storm Ophelia moves towards the area,” their 6 a.m. forecast said. “Storm total rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches are expected with locally higher amounts possible.” 

Now Buckingham isn’t included in this flood watch. In our coverage area, only Cumberland, Prince Edward, Lunenburg and Nottoway are in the danger area, with most of the warnings affecting counties further east. And in the affected counties, rain is expected to cause some problems today. The NWS forecast warns that rivers like the Appomattox, along with local creeks and streams will possibly flood. 

There’s also an issue with heavy winds. By 9 p.m. Friday, wind gusts had reached 20 mph in Kingsville and Farmville. By 7 a.m., those gusts are expected to climb to 36 mph, the National Weather Service says. They’ll reach a high of between 40-45 mph around noon, before dying back down. 

This storm system has caused several closings and cancellations already for Saturday, with state and power company officials asking residents to take precautions. 

Ophelia could cause power outage 

First off, yes, it’s possible the lights will go out at some point today. That was the warning issued Friday night by Dominion Energy officials, who said those wind gusts could result in downed trees and power lines. We’ve already seen that across the area. In Prince Edward, Southside Electric Cooperative work crews are trying to restore power to 166 homes. There’s 20 more affected in Charlotte and 84 in the dark in Lunenburg. There’s currently no estimated time for when the lights will come on for any of those households. 

Part of the problem is that a majority of these homes are in rural areas, with the affected power lines out in fields or running through trees. The crews have to clean up debris and saw up the downed trees before they can actually make their way to the damaged lines, which is why it takes a bit longer in these cases. 

That leads to the second issue caused by the storm. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is asking people to be careful if they use the roads, as a combination of storm debris and flooding rivers could lead to unsafe conditions. 

According to a statement sent out Friday night, VDOT officials say they have crews on standby. They’ve also been checking drainage areas near roads, clearing them where necessary to prevent water on the roads.

Storm causes closings, postponements 

The storm has also caused events and games to be rescheduled. The Farmville Farmers Market, for example, won’t open today, due to the weather. Prince Edward High, Buckingham and Kenston Forest also postponed their football games this week. All three will play on Monday night instead. 

Hampden-Sydney College canceled its soccer game against North Carolina Wesleyan University, which had been scheduled for Saturday night. Longwood University also had to adjust some schedules. The women’s soccer team will now move their conference opener against Charleston Southern to Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. The men’s team canceled their match against Wofford. Since neither team has an open date available, it won’t be made up.