Floodwaters from the Dan River continued to rise in South Boston over Memorial Day weekend, topping out at 30.1 feet early Sunday morning.
The crest is considered “moderate flood stage” for the Dan River, according to Vance Joyner, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. The river crest was lower than the National Weather Service’s earlier, Thursday morning prediction of 30.9 feet. Now that the river has crested, the forecast is for the water levels to recede rapidly.
“The current forecast has the river falling below flood stage – 22 feet – around midnight on Monday night. By Wednesday, the river should be at a more normal level,” Joyner said.
This is the second time this year the Dan River at South Boston has flooded. On Feb. 9, the river crested at a slightly higher level of 30.56 feet.
The river flooding caused inconveniences for Riverdale business owners, as they had to move their merchandise to higher ground. It also caused inconveniences for motorists, who had to take longer routes because of detours.
The intersection of U.S. 58 and U.S. 501 (Huell Matthews Highway) heading into the Riverdale part of town was closed Friday morning ahead of the flooding and remained closed as of press time Sunday. Floodwaters also forced the closure of a portion of U.S. 58 West (Philpott Road), detouring drivers through winding country roads. Other roads closed in Halifax County over the weekend due to flooding were Route 600 North at Black Walnut Road and Route 617 North at Cove Road.
No incidents due to the flooding were reported.
“We still have crews out today. They’re continuing to operate those detours. We’ll keep those detours in place as long as necessary to keep everyone safe,” said Paula Jones, communications manager for the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Lynchburg district.
Jones said the detours will be taken down and traffic running again on the main thoroughfares only after the water recedes “at a reasonable level” and VDOT crews ensure that the driving surfaces are safe for travel, and no drainage pipes are clogged due to flooding.
“Generally everybody is pretty accepting of the detours,” Jones added. “I know the detours are longer and people get frustrated, but those are the alternate routes that we have available.”
The flooding over the Memorial Day holiday weekend was inconvenient but not record-breaking for South Boston.
“This does not break into the top five highest river crests for South Boston,” Joyner said.
The record crest for the Dan River at South Boston was 33.37 feet in 1972. The second-highest recorded crest was 33.22 feet in 1996. More recently, in October 2018, Tropical Storm Michael battered South Boston with drenching rains, causing the river to rise to 31.4 feet.