Hermine: Moderate flooding, headaches

Published 6:27 pm Saturday, September 3, 2016

Although an easterly track by Tropical Storm Hermine spared Suffolk from the worst of the high winds, officials were dealing on Saturday with some minor storm damage and casting a wary eye toward the coming high tides.

A falling tree brought down an electrical transformer and three power poles in the Holly Acres neighborhood of North Suffolk at about 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Power lines on the road in the 5000 block of Bay Circle were sparking, and the poles were blocking the entire roadway, according to Suffolk Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Craig Abraham.

Dominion Virginia Power crews had been called to the scene to repair the damaged lines.


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Dominion was showing 664 Suffolk customers — and nearly 78,000 across its service area — without power at 11 a.m. Saturday. The company reported that it had crews working on 930 projects across Virginia and Northeast North Carolina at that time.

The numbers fluctuated throughout the day, as Hermine’s winds continued to knock down trees and cause problems with the electrical distribution system throughout the area.

By 5 p.m. Saturday, the number of Suffolk customers without power had risen to 930, with a total of 34,303 down throughout the service area, most of them in Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

In the downtown portion of Suffolk, at 11 a.m. Saturday, officials closed a portion of North Main Street at the Kimberly Bridge because of high water associated with tidal flooding.

The flooding had been expected, according to Suffolk spokeswoman Diana Klink. The low-lying Kimberly area by Constant’s Wharf has a history of being underwater during storm-fueled high tides.

And the city expects Saturday morning’s flooding there to be only the first of a series of such events related to Hermine’s passage.

“There will be at least five high tide cycles over the next several days that will include minor to moderate levels, with the winds affecting the piling up of water that may require further closings in this area,” Klink stated in the release Saturday morning.

A portion of Wilroy Road was closed for a short time Saturday as tidal waters flooded an area between Progress Road and the BASF plant.

A portion of Whaleyville Boulevard was closed when a transformer fire on a utility pole caused a risk of energized lines collapsing onto the road.

Tropical Storm Hermine continued to move slowly northeast off the coast of Virginia throughout the day on Saturday.

The area remained under a tropical storm warning at 4 p.m., and the National Weather Service was warning of “heavy rainfall potentially resulting in flash flooding” across the affected area. Localized rainfall totals were expected to range from four to eight inches, and rain was expected to continue throughout the day in Tidewater.

The weather service was predicting continued moderate flooding across southside Hampton Roads, with storm-surge levels at 4.5 to 5.5 feet above mean lower low water level and wave heights of two to four feet on the James River.

As the storm slowly moves away, it expected to re-intensify into a hurricane by around 2 p.m. Sunday, and then track in a more northwesterly direction toward the coast of Delaware before hooking back to the northeast and heading further up the coast.

The weather service was predicting the local effects to slowly subside through Sunday, with some flooding continued in the forecast through Monday.

Officials in Suffolk had reported no injuries from the storm by late Saturday.