The entire New River Valley, as well as multiple other Southwest Virginia localities are currently under a National Weather Service Flash Flood Watch, as rainfall totals in the area are expected to range from 4 to 8 inches, with localized amounts approaching or exceeding one foot.
The threat of flooding, potentially strong wind gusts and mudslides have led multiple Southwest Virginia counties to declare a local state of emergency in anticipation of the coming deluge, which is expected to begin Saturday evening and continue until at least Monday night.
Counties that have declared a state of emergency include Roanoke County, Grayson County, and Carroll County, as well as the Town of Vinton.
At 4:01 p.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, warned that as Florence tracked north through the Appalachian Region, “Catastrophic flash flooding and prolonged river flooding [is] expected to continue over portions of the Carolinas and the Southern/Central Appalachians…”
Not only is the rainfall and expected floodwaters a problem, but the potential for landslides and gusty winds also pose a threat.
“Gusty winds and wet soils could bring down trees tonight into Sunday… Northeast winds will increase again tonight before shifting to the southeast Sunday as Florence tracks inland across South Carolina. The winds will be gusting as high as 35 to 55 mph, especially along the ridges,” stated the Blacksburg office of the National Weather Service in a wind advisory issued Saturday evening for the counties of Yadkin (NC), Tazewell, Wythe, Pulaski, Floyd, and Mercer (WV). The advisory has been issued until 4 p.m. Sunday.
It is important for residents to be prepared, as the wind gusts combined with saturated soils will cause some trees to fall and scattered power outages are possible as well.
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