RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The weekend storms have sent the James River over its banks. The river is expected to crest around 8 p.m. tonight at 15 feet, that's three feet above flood stage.
The rise of the James is an expected, often seen after-affect of days with heavy rain upstream over the river basin. The levels and expected rise are tracked by hydrologists with the National Weather Service, who provide us with all of the river-level data.
Local rescue squads haven't had to save anyone all weekend and they hope to keep it that way today and tomorrow.
Rushing water is a stark reminder of the weekend storms for Donald Dodson and his grandson, Jack.
"It's beautiful. as long as it doesn't do any damage," said Dodson.
"There's a path down there but it's cut off by water that's been washed up on," added Jack.
And they weren't the only ones who came to see the raw and awesome power of the James.
"It's beautiful, it's a little bit dangerous but the power of it all is really exciting and want to share that with the boys so they respect it but also appreciate it," said Jim Tyler.
The famous rocks were covered, tree trunks buried, or pulled apart and swept away.
Normally there's about a six-foot drop off behind me and kayakers slide down some stairs. Not today. You can't even see the steps.
"I hope this is not going to get worse than it is today. I remember years ago when the whole parking lot was flooded so it can happen," said Tom Terhorst.
Not everyone came to the river out of curiosity Monday.
"It's incredible. When it rains this much in the mountains and comes down it's a real treat for us down here waiting," said kayaker Dave Nutter. He and his friends say when the James looks like chocolate milk they paddle out, hoping for a wild ride. "It's still dangerous and you've got to know what you're doing and be confident in your skills."
Water levels are not expected to drop until Tuesday afternoon.
By law, you are not supposed to get into the river right now, without a permit.