By John Crane
Danville Register & Bee
Published: November 12, 2009
Persistent rains prompted Pittsylvania County officials to declare a state of emergency in the county Thursday.
“The county of Pittsylvania is facing serious hazards with the amount of downed trees, power lines and potential of flooding due to (rains),” said County Emergency Services Coordinator Jim Davis and County Administrator Dan Sleeper — who’s also deputy director of emergency management — in a statement Thursday. “Due to these hazards, a condition of extreme peril of life and property now exists throughout (the) county.”
Davis later said the declaration was issued as a precautionary measure and he knew of no weather-related emergency situations.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen with the river rising like it is,” Davis said. “… At this point, we’ve not had any type life-threatening emergencies,” he said Thursday.
If the county has to spend money not appropriated for disasters as a result of conditions, Pittsylvania could be reimbursed by the state, he added.
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine declared a state of emergency for the commonwealth Wednesday due to high waters and flooding.
There were 26 reported road closures in Pittsylvania County on Thursday evening due to flooding and high waters, said Randy Hamilton, residency administrator for the Virginia Department of Transportation in Chatham.
Paula Jones, VDOT spokeswoman, said the roads that had high waters were ones that typically flood during extended rainfalls. Jones advised drivers to proceed with caution, especially since water can cause hydroplaning and wet leaves can add to already slick conditions.
Also, just a few inches of moving water on a road or street can pose danger to vehicles, Jones said. The rushing water can also hide pot holes and shifted culverts. Wind gusts and wet, loosened soil can cause trees to fall, presenting more hazards for drivers.
In other areas, water levels exceeded full pond at Smith Mountain Lake, and Appalachian Power increased its discharge from Leesville Dam into the Staunton River to create more storage volume in the lower reservoir, according to a news release from Appalachian Power.
In addition, the town of Mayodan, N.C., had a discharge of about 82,000 gallons of untreated water and rain water at two areas off Main Street and 9th Avenue. About eight inches of rainfall in two days caused the overflow which entered the Mayo River, a tributary of the Dan River, according to a press release from the town.