One thing is for certain after all the precipitation of the past several months, Rappahannock County is downright green approaching July and likely will remain so for much of the summer of 2018.
After all, the National Weather Service is now predicting above average precipitation from July through September for two regions of the country: the southwestern U.S. and right here in the mid-Atlantic, with Virginia being the bulls-eye.
Locals in Rappahannock County, meanwhile, say they don’t remember seeing rivers and streams running as high as they were this past weekend for two decades at least.
Rev. Jeffrey Light, pastor of Novum Baptist Church, registered 6.75 inches of rain in downtown Woodville early Friday evening less than 24 hours after it began falling, and the rainfall still hadn’t let up. Similar precip amounts were reported from Slate Mills to Sperryville, with slightly lesser amounts north into Chester Gap.
Whorton Hollow Road in Castleton was literally sliced in half and rendered impassable from the torrential rainfall that began Thursday night — “completely hollow underneath! I would not drive over this,” warned motorist Mandy Wetzel before the asphalt collapsed a short time later.
Other submerged or impassable primary and secondary roads from Friday’s storm included: Aaron Mountain, Battle Run, Black Water, Castle Mountain, Castleton Ford, Fodderstack, F.T. Valley, Gid Brown, Grace, Harris Hollow, Hazel River, Jackson, Keyser Run, Laurel Mills, Lizzie Mills, Long Mountain, Richmond, Riley Hollow, Rock Mills, Rolling, Scrabble, Skyline, Slate Mills, Trails End, Turkey Ridge, Woodward, and Highways 211 and 522.
“Please use EXTREME CAUTION,” Rappahannock Sheriff Connie Compton warned motorists in writing just before noon Friday, the first full day of summer, as the rainfall continued in earnest.
When the precipitation finally let up Saturday morning, VDOT operators and contract crews were out making often major repairs to Rappahannock’s byways and highways.
“Crews are making repairs as quickly as possible, with priority given to roads and bridges that provide the only access to residents on the far side of the damaged structure,” advised VDOT, cautioning drivers that many of the repairs they’ve seen this week are temporary, such as gravel sections on paved roads and on bridge approaches that washed out.
“Motorists should be alert . . . in the areas where temporary repairs were made and where tree limbs, rocks, broken pavement and other debris deposited by the floodwaters are on the road shoulders,” it said.
Rappahannock Electric Co-op dealt with several power outages during the storm, with up to 100 customers in the dark Friday morning surrounding Scrabble after a tree fell onto wires.
Due to the widespread flooding, several public events scheduled for the weekend have been postponed.