Staunton and Augusta County Flash Flooding August 8, 2003
STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - Staunton is no stranger to flash flooding. However it doesn’t take a widespread event nor a remnant hurricane (Like Camille or Isabel) to lead to flash flooding.
Seventeen years before the August 2020 flash flooding event, another heavy rain event led to major flash flooding in Staunton as well as part of Augusta County.
Seventeen years before the August 2020 flash flooding event, another heavy rain event led to major flash flooding in Staunton well as part of Augusta County. This basically means that just like a train over train tracks, the rain moved over the same area.
Here’s a look at radar from that night: What this looks like is a storm that back built into a line of storms and then just sat over the same area for a few hours.
Rainfall reports came in anywhere from 2-5″ and according to the storm report, 55 businesses were flooding with about 4′ of water. Some reports have the water even as high as 7 feet! According to NWS, “Several city streets and 55 businesses were flooded by up to 4 feet of water. Lewis Creek overflowed into the central business district near Central Avenue and the Wharf, causing water to rush into buildings and vehicles.”
On some roads water was as high as waist deep. One of the main downtown parking garages sustained extreme damage because of the force of the water. The rushing flood waters actually washed away some of the concrete.
The flooding seemed to be most significant on North Lewis Street, Churchville Ave and Gypsy Hill park. All areas prone to flooding and areas that have experienced terrible flooding before. Part of Route 254 west of Staunton was reportedly under water at one point.
Per the NWS report, “In addition to the downtown businesses, up to 70 homes were flooded. Around 25 homes sustained serious water damage, including 3 which sustained significant structural damage. One home was condemned after the rushing water tore down a brick basement wall.”
During the storm, some people reported seeing hot tubs, trash bins and logs floating down the street.
The video in this story aired the day after this flood event. It was only a month later that hurricane Isabel would hit and lead to major flash flooding again in the Shenandoah Valley with Augusta County and Waynesboro being some of the hardest hit areas.
Here’s a brochure from the historic Staunton foundation with photos of the event.
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