The National Weather Service has lifted the Flash Flood Watch for the region. The weather service says its focus now turns to the wind threat for the next day or two with additional power outages possible.
Appalachian Power reports plenty of progress in restoring power to its Virginia customers. At one point this morning, APCO reported more than 5,000 without power. The number now is below 400 including 154 customers in Botetourt County.
Most of the heaviest rainfall today has come east of the Blue Ridge including more than two and a quarter inches of rain in Big Island in Bedford County almost two and three quarter inches south of Lynchburg in Rustburg and in Charlotte County more than four inches today in Drakes Branch.
Some of the usual low-water roadways are closed in the Roanoke area. They include Wiley Drive along the Greenway and the Bellevue Avenue railroad underpass across from Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. Also closed, the greenway bridge that crosses the Roanoke River at Wasena Park.
VDOT still reports many roads closed in the region, most of them secondary roads that suffered washouts earlier this week. And local flooding is still possible in some low-lying areas. You are urged to observe barricades and not attempt to drive across water-covered roadways. If you see trees down across a state road, VDOT asks you to report it buy calling 800-FOR-ROAD.
River forecasts indicate the New and James Rivers will remain below flood stage.
A Flash Flood Watch is now in effect through Saturday evening, and now, a High Wind Watch is also scheduled to take effect Friday evening and continue through Sunday morning. A watch means a potential exists for severe weather; it is different from a warning, which means a severe condition is either imminent or occurring. The High Wind Watch is in effect because expected speeds may be enough to uproot trees in ground already saturated.
The Virginia National Guard plans to have up to 800 personnel in place by Friday night to respond to storm-related events. Staging areas will be in Hampton Roads, central and southwest Virginia and in the Shenandoah Valley. Deputy director of joint operations Lt. Col. Douglas Gagnon says personnel must be in place before the severe weather hit to allow for a rapid response when needed. He says among the tasks the Guard is prepared to handle include tree and debris removal and transporting flood victims to safety. The Virginia National Guard was last on state active duty in February and March responding to heavy snow and flooding.
A Bedford County area woman is charged with fatally shooting her brother early today County, the apparent result of an lengthy late-night dispute in the Chamblissburg area. The Sheriff’s office says 54-year-old Vicki Clarke faces a second degree murder charge. Deputies say her brother, 55-year-old Paul Thomas was dead when they arrived around 2:00 am. The sheriff’s office says the victim had twice damaged Vicki Clarke’s private road in the hours immediately before, once in a car, the second time in a tractor.
(Continue reading for the full Bedford County Sheriff’s Office news release.)
The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for the entire region that will be in effect from Friday morning through Saturday evening. From the Weather Service: “Waves of Low Pressure along a stationary coastal front will combined with an upper level low pressure system to produce widespread heavy rain across the region from early Friday morning through Saturday night. Two to five inches of rain, with locally higher amounts along and on the east slopes of the Blue Ridge, are expected. This rain will be falling on soil that is completely saturated. This will lead to much of the rain running off into small streams and creek. Impact from the heavy rain would be rapid rises and flooding of small streams and creeks, flooding of underpasses and other poor drainage areas, and mudslides. A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued.
BEDFORD, Va. (AP) _ A convicted sex offender charged with murder in the disappearance of two sisters from a suburban Maryland mall in 1975 is set to make his initial appearance in a Virginia court. Lloyd Lee Michael Welch Jr. is scheduled to appear at a state court in Bedford on Thursday. Welch is charged in connection with the disappearance of 12-year-old Sheila Lyon and 10-year-old Katharine Lyon. The sisters were walking from their house to the Wheaton Plaza Mall. The girls never came home, and no bodies were found. Authorities say Welch was at the mall the day the girls vanished and was seen paying attention to them. Welch had been serving a lengthy prison term in Delaware, but officials said Wednesday that he’s been transferred to the Amherst County Adult Detention Center.