Water slams Deltaville coast, flood threat continues

Water slams Deltaville coast, flood threat continues

DELTAVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Coastal towns, such as Deltaville, are seeing tidal flooding from Friday's heavy rainfall. Emergency officials believe river levels have yet to peak and the worst is yet to come.

Crews in Middlesex are working around the clock as Hurricane Joaquin approaches. They began their day with a state conference call, where water levels and regional concerns were addressed.

"It seems the storm may be turning, but we're going to prepare for the worst and hope for the best," said Mark Nugent, the emergency services coordinator for the county. He knows this is nothing new to his area, as the county has suffered from similar storms. Being surrounded by water makes it a popular vacation destination, but also brings a higher risk of storm damage.

"We have a population of around 11,000. We're blessed this is an event in the fall. If this was an event in July we'd be dealing with 35,000 people not 11,000," said Nugent.

The work doesn't stop for him when the conference call ends. Nugent and his team will put boots on the ground, monitoring areas known to flood and watching the storm's progression. As of Friday, the team has not asked for an evacuation. However, a shelter is ready to open and rescue squads are on stand-by.

"We're blessed technology is a lot better than it was 30 to 40 years ago so we can predict this. We have tracking software we watch all the time to see what is going to happen," explained Nugent. He added that the initial path showed Hurricane Joaquin coming within nine miles of Deltaville. That has since changed, but his team will continue to watch until the storm clears.

In addition to better tracking technology, the county also uses an early warning system to contact homeowners. The system sends out calls to home phones, notifying people of potential storm risks.

"We can hone it down. Say someone is on oxygen, or needs a medical device, we can just contact those people. I don't want to call wolf all the time so people don't pay attention to it. So, if you get a call, it's important," said Nugent.

Emergency officials expect rain and potential flooding to continue throughout Friday night and into the weekend. They believe the river will hit its peak around midday on Sunday.

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