‘Major flood event’ leads to evacuations in Culpeper Co.

Flooding in Culpeper, Virginia, June 11, 2021. (Courtesy Culpeper Police Department)

Several roads in Culpeper County, Virginia, had to be shut down from Thursday night into Friday morning as heavy rain pounded the region, leading to flash flooding conditions.

“It was extremely dangerous,” said Bill Ooten, director of Culpeper County’s emergency services.

The National Weather Service reported trees and wires down in the Culpeper area, where about 7 inches of rain fell, and there were more than a dozen calls for roads blocked by flooding. Several roads were still shut down and not possible to drive through as of Friday, Ooten told WTOP.

The damage to the roadways are starting to be seen, but won’t be fully known until the water subsides, but Ooten said the asphalt has washed out in parts of certain roads, leaving holes.

“We had a lot of cars underwater and had to do many water rescues,” added Jon Russell, a member of the Culpeper Town Council. “We’ve had a major flood event.”

Several vehicles were submerged at Yowell Meadow Park, and the Sleepy Hollow Motel in Culpeper had to be evacuated due to rising water.

“There was water rushing into the rooms and we absolutely could not keep people in there,” said Ooten. “At the motel, there were several people that we actually had to put boats in the water to get to their rooms to get them out and to a safe location.”

A trailer park near the motel had to be evacuated as well.

Culpeper police said that over 20 families have been displaced from their homes, and Culpeper Housing and Shelter Services have arranged emergency housing for them.

“When it dumps so much rain in such a such a short period of time, we have to start evacuating people from certain areas,” Ooten said.

Although, the county has seen flooding before, Ooten said what made Thursday’s incident extremely dangerous was the rate of the speed of flooding.

“When you have it happen that fast, it makes it harder to mitigate, much harder to stay ahead of it, and keep people informed,” Ooten said.

Emergency officials expected more rain throughout the day Friday and closely monitored the conditions to respond to any additional flooding.

Tolerance for ground saturation is pretty much expended, and officials are paying attention to river levels, Ooten said.

WTOP’s Thomas Robertson and Abigail Constantino contributed to this report.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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