High water levels could affect Parade of Lights

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As water rushes down the James, the current carries large debris with it, causing concern for Saturday's Parade of Lights.

"If I had a boat, I wouldn't be putting in today," said Rick Johnson, who visits the riverside frequently.

In the short amount time we were here, we saw large logs, tree limbs, even tires float down the river. Float may even be an understatement.

"Imagine your boat running into something like that," Johnson said. "That's a hefty piece of wood there."

He says he's seen the water levels rise roughly 10 feet here in a short period of time. Just a couple days ago, a boat docked nearby was low enough for someone to jump on the back. Levels have  risen so much, that would be impossible now.

It poses an even bigger danger since the event is at night, making it tougher for boaters to see the debris coming towards them. Organizers say the Henrico Marine Patrol is on the water determining if it's safe to navigate.

"There was almost what looked a tree floating down the river," Johnson added. "That's risky especially at night. They're pretty hefty looking logs. I don't know how you avoid those."

"Event organizers say some boaters have already backed out. The James River Advisory Council still plans on holding the event. People can gather at Rockets Landing starting at 4:30 p.m. Saturday for music and events. The parade will begin at 6:00 p.m., unless we hear otherwise.

For more information on the parade, click here.

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