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Richmond Flood Wall Activated as James River Rises

floodwall gate closed
With Central Virginia continuing to be pounded with rain, Richmond is taking precautions to avoid severe flooding in the city. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Severe storms moving throughout Central Virginia have brought significant rainfall, which is expected to raise the water levels of the James River to historic levels. 

As of midday Thursday, the water level was around 14.5 feet. Forecasters are expecting it to rise to 19 feet on Friday. According to historical data from the National Weather Service, that hasn’t happened since 1996. The highest recorded water level was 28 feet in 1972. 

The Richmond Department of Emergency Communications says the city’s flood walls were activated around noon on Thursday in response to the heavy rainfall. Dock Street is closed from 17th and 21st streets. The gate at Brander Street will also close later today. 

The flood wall was completed in 1995, costing more than $140 million.  

The NWS in Wakefield has also issued a number of flood advisories and warnings throughout the region. When the NWS issues a warning, it means flooding is imminent or occurring.

graph
(Graph from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Data from National Weather Service)