80th anniversary of the 1940 Floods in southwest Virginia

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Rainfall Summary for SE US Hurricane 1940 (Courtesy: NWS/NCEP/WPC

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — August 13 – 14, 2020 mark the 80th anniversary of the 1940 Floods in southwest and central Virginia

On August 11, 1940, the third hurricane of 1940 impacted the Georgia/South Carolina coast. This storms moved inland toward eastern Tennessee by August 13. Rain started to fall in Southern Virginia on August 13. Widespread rain intensified as remnants of the hurricane turned back to the east on the 14th, drifting through southwest Virginia into northern North Carolina on the 15th.

The storm dumped massive amounts of rain on the region. Rainfall amounts of 14 to 16 inches were reported near the Blue Ridge in Floyd and Patrick counties. The rain also caused parts of the New, Roanoke, and Appomattox River basins to crest.

Five fatalities were reported, along with thousands of dollars in property damage. According to the USGS, Highway damage alone produced damage of nearly $750,000. Crops were also destroyed in southern Virginia due to the intense rainfall.

Scottsville News and Albemarle Current wrote “Flood Warnings out in Scottsville and all along the James from Lynchburg to Richmond. Reports coming in during Thursday as we go to press say the river is rising a foot an hour with a 22 ft. depth expected here in the morning. Merchants in town on Main Street already are under 3 inches of water.”

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