Partially submerged cars on downtown’s Clay Street float as a firefighter with a flashlight makes his way back up the street Thursday evening. Strong thunderstorms deluged the city and rendered several roads impassable, with many vehicles being taken victim.
Partially submerged cars on downtown’s Clay Street float as a firefighter with a flashlight makes his way back up the street Thursday evening. Strong thunderstorms deluged the city and rendered several roads impassable, with many vehicles being taken victim.

Seven rescued from floodwaters

Published 6:57pm Thursday, July 24, 2014

At least seven people were rescued from semi-submerged vehicles in Suffolk after a line of severe thunderstorms deluged parts of the city Thursday evening.

Police rescued a family of four — including two young children and their parents — from a submerged vehicle near the intersection of Spruce and Mill streets, according to city spokeswoman Diana Klink. Another three people were rescued from a vehicle near Second Avenue and West Constance Road.

The occupants of a flooded vehicle in the 200 block of Locust Street were able to escape on their own, Klink added.

After a storm Thursday morning, a relatively calm day ensued until just before 7 p.m.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning, cautioning against the quarter-size hail and winds in excess of 60 miles per hour the storm was capable of producing.

As it turned out, the rain was the most problematic feature of the storm.

Several downtown streets were flooded, leaving cars stranded and, in some cases, floating.

The 100 to 200 block of Clay Street had extremely high water, with some reports of five feet or more, Klink said. Five vehicles were flooded in this area, and one home had water damage.

A tree landed on a house in the 100 block of Pitchkettle Point Circle, causing significant damage to roof, Klink said. The occupants were displaced.

Trees also were reported down on Everets, Lake Prince and Milners roads.

An accident in the 5000 block of Indian Trail ended with a vehicle in a ditch. There were no injuries, however, and the occupant was able to escape the vehicle as water entered.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue’s Station 1 on Market Street was struck by lightning and lost power for about an hour. Another lightning strike was reported in the 2500 block of Indian Trail Road.

Cable wires in the 200 block of Lewis Avenue, along with power lines on Corinth Chapel Road, Linden Avenue and Raleigh Avenue, were brought down by the storm.

The Vistas in Hillpoint subdivision was flooded and had flooding of some passenger vehicles halfway up the tires, according to photos submitted by Tamara Bennett.

Some downtown businesses saw flooding as well, according to Facebook reports and photos.

Dominion Virginia Power said 744 of its customers in Suffolk were without power shortly after the storm. By 10 p.m., that number had dwindled to 159.

Elsewhere in Virginia, the damage — and casualties — were worse from the day’s storms. A husband and wife from New Jersey died at an Eastern Shore campground after an EF-1 tornado ripped through the area, causing a tree to fall on their tent. About 36 people were injured at the campground and in an overturned tractor-trailer, also caused by the tornado, on a nearby road.

See reader-submitted photos of flooding and storm clouds on the Suffolk News-Herald’s Facebook page.

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