State of Emergency in Southwest Virginia: Flooding, Flood Gates Closed

PHOTO: Water rescue in Wise County, Courtesy of Wise County Sheriff's Office
PHOTO: Water rescue in Wise County, Courtesy of Wise County Sheriff’s Office

Days of steady rain are beginning to take a toll on far Southwestern Virginia as a state of emergency has been declared in some areas due to widespread flooding and the increasing likelihood of additional rainfall.

According to the Wise County Sheriff’s Office, Wise County declared a local emergency as of 10 p.m.

Sheriff’s office officials say that a shelter will be opened at 11:00 p.m. at Union High School cafeteria for the Big Stone Gap, Appalachia, and Norton areas.

“Weather forecast shows the possibility of an additional 2 or more inches of rain. If you are in low lying areas susceptible to flooding please keep alert of your surroundings,” stated information officers.

Elsewhere in the Virginia county that borders eastern Kentucky, a water rescue had to be performed in Powell Valley area. “Subject attempted to drive a vehicle through a flooded roadway and the water pushed the vehicle into the river,” stated law enforcement officials, who warn, “Please do not drive through any flooded roadway. The driver of this vehicle was uninjured.”

In neighboring Buchanan County, which borders both Kentucky and West Virginia, a representative of the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the flood gates to Grundy, Virginia, have been closed, but when asked if a state of emergency had been declared in that county, he stated, “Not yet.”

Already this week, in the Southwest Virginia locality of Smyth County, a vehicle was swept away by high water and a woman lost her life..

This is a developing story and information will be passed along as it becomes available and is confirmed.

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