Richmond officials prepared to close city floodgates if necessary

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond's Department of Public Utilities is prepared to close the city's flood wall, if necessary.

The last time the flood wall was used during a storm to hold back the James River was in 1996, after Hurricane Fran. Richmond DPU officials say they're continually monitoring the James River, for any severe flooding.

Officials will make the decision on whether or not to close the flood gates, based on the storm and river's severity. Thursday afternoon, the James River reached about ten feet, and is anticipated to reach at least 16 feet by Saturday.

Meantime, if the gates are closed, the runoff water within the city needs to be pumped out, because it can't flow into the river, as it usually would. The floodgates and the pumps are routinely tested, and are in good working condition, according to officials.

Since Hurricane Gaston ten years ago, Richmond has spent about $310 million to make a series of other improvements, helping the city to handle flooding.

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