Storm surge

Published 10:29 pm Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Suffolk was not alone in the drenching it received on Veterans Day — the wind and heavy rains were spread across most of the Southeast.

The remains of Hurricane Ida have moved up the coast all week, finally reaching Suffolk Tuesday night and dumping about three inches of rain through Wednesday night.

“We’ve got the remains of Ida coming up the coast, and high pressure from the north,” said meteorologist Rick Curry, with the National Weather Service in Wakefield. “That’s setting up a real strong easterly wind that will persist into Friday afternoon.”

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East Constance Road was closed in the 600 block for part of Wednesday because of high water. Emergency Management director Capt. James T. Judkins said high water will likely be the worst part of the storm in Suffolk.

“We’re looking for those to be at Isabel-type levels,” Judkins said, referring to the 2003 hurricane that slammed coastal Virginia. “That amounts to about four feet above the normal high tide stage.”

The high tides in the coming days will occur at 6:44 a.m. and 7:05 p.m. Thursday, as well as 7:42 a.m. Friday. During those times, Judkins expects parts of North Main Street and Constance Road to be impassable, as well as possible problems on Wilroy Road and other areas.

“The ditches won’t be able to handle the excess rain, so many of our rural roads could be impassable,” Judkins said Wednesday night. He had a planned conference call with the National Weather Service Thursday morning, and additional decisions could follow the phone call, he said.

The city has a high-water vehicle on standby, ready to deliver supplies or rescue residents should the need arise, Judkins said.

“Right now, we’re at the point of watching and waiting,” Judkins said.

That was the same message that came from Suffolk Public Schools Wednesday night.

“At this point we’re just sort of watching,” spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw said. “We don’t usually have issues with places that are too flooded, and we have ways we can get around.”

A coastal flood warning, wind advisory and flood watch have been issued for Suffolk through Friday. The wind advisory issued Wednesday cautioned that winds may bring down tree limbs, cause power outages and make driving difficult. The flood advisory warns that heavy rainfall could cause flooding of creeks and small streams, as well as in poor drainage areas.

Thursday’s weather is expected to get even worse, although slightly warmer. The chance of rain Thursday is 100 percent, but that chance drops off to 70 percent on Friday and then 30 percent Friday night and Saturday.

For more information on the official weather forecast, visit