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Flooding covers roads, snarls traffic across region

South Boston NewsSouth Boston NewsSouth Boston News
Top, Whittle's Mill in South Hill as the Meherrin River floods, and in ordinary times; below, a washed-out section of Chalk Level Road near South Hill. / May 19, 2018
Heavy rainfall in the region has touched off flash flooding and swollen rivers, which in turn has snarled traffic on waterlogged roads from Danville to South Hill.

Traffic on Danville’s Riverside Drive (Business 58) was brought to a standstill late Friday afternoon as pools covered both sides of the busy roadway. An additional portion of Riverside Drive was covered by a mudslide that rolled down from the soaked embankment, the effect of three and a half inches of rain that fell in the city on Friday. The 3.48 inch rainfall by 5 p.m. set a new daily maximum rainfall record for May 18, according to the National Weather Service in Blacksburg.

On Saturday, flooding made an impact further downriver. The Riverdale commercial district in South Boston was closed down due to flooding, although the Dan was not expected to rise high enough to get into businesses. However, the floodwaters were high enough to prompt the closing of U.S. 501 through the low-lying business area.

Outside of the Town of South Hill, the Meherrin River breached the historic Whittle’s Mill dam, which ordinarily rises high above the downstream river bed. The rain also washed out Chalk Level Road in South Hill, causing it to be closed to traffic. Flashing flooding overtook the road and opened a huge hole in the pavement.

Rainfall had tapered off Saturday and the forecast calls for little chance of precipitation in coming days, although Monday could bring thunderstorms. The National Weather Service posted a flash flood warning through May 20 and flood warning through May 22.

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