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Riverdale goes under for second time in 2020

South Boston News
The flooded 58-501 intersection in South Boston / May 24, 2020
As predicted, Riverdale and the 58-501 intersection went underwater this weekend but with plenty of advance warning to allow merchants and travelers to adjust.

U.S. 501 in the Riverdale district was closed off Friday as the swollen Dan River seeped into the roadway, which soon became a full-blown flood that inundated buildings in the low-lying commercial district. By Saturday morning, traffic was blocked off at the 58-501 intersection, the county’s busiest.

The Dan’s crest of 30.3 feet above stage was forecast Sunday morning at 8 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. If that level holds, the flood will be slightly less severe than the Feb. 9 deluge that caught Riverdale merchants by surprise. That February event, which crested at 30.56 feet, was the worst wintertime flood on record for the Dan at Riverdale.

“We were blessed to be able to move out completely on a Wednesday,” said Bunny Propst of Riverdale Auto, who saw a number of her vehicles destroyed by the February floodwaters. “Everything in the building was prepped and packed and moved out or moved up.”

The Dan was set to subside on Sunday, falling slowly to more normal levels by the start of the week.

“The plan is to go in Monday with our two employees and the water hose and get the mud out,” said Propst, who expressed her appreciation to Jay Burnett and World of Sports for allowing the use of the company’s parking lot to store her vehicles.

VDOT set up detours around the swamped Riverdale area but reported few other problems due to the flood. A number of roads in Halifax and Pittsylvania counties were closed off by the high water, but the VDOT Lynchburg District office experienced few other road closures outside of the two-county area. The City of Danville also had some streets that were submerged by the rising Dan, although the scope of the flooding wasn’t as bad as in February.

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