Update: Flood aftermath: Criser Rd., Robin Hood Ln., Virginia Ave. & 6th St.
Richard E. Mabie
Chief of Warren County Fire & Rescue Department
FRONT ROYAL–Warren County was placed under a flash flood watch for Saturday storms. Rain began falling around daybreak and turned to heavy rain during the morning around 10:30 AM. Steady rain fell, accompanied by thunderstorms occurring around 3PM began to push streams and creeks out of their banks and soon across roadways.
Around 3PM in the afternoon, the first of approximately 60 calls for service began pouring in to the Warren County Communications Center. While most of these calls were for motor vehicle accidents, Fire and Rescue units responded to approximately 20 calls for vehicles submerged in the water. Many of these occupants became trapped but self rescued, fire units made two rescues from stranded vehicles.
Fire and Rescue and law enforcement units were also kept busy with flooded roads and streets. At one point in the afternoon, there was no way out of Front Royal to the east, except Interstate 66, as Happy Creek Road and John Marshal Highways were flooded and closed.
Unofficially, the County received more than 3 inches of rain in some areas and was spared the blunt of lightning and winds of area thunderstorms. Damage estimates are ongoing, but the Town sustained damage to two very important bridges; Prospect Street bridge and the Criser Road bridge.
While flash flood waters have receded, attention now is focused on the Shenandoah River flooding. River level is still rising but is expected to crest around 17’ in Front Royal where flood stage is 12’. This is considered the low end of a major flood for the South Fork.