UPADATE: Wythe County Weather Event

WYTHE COUNTY, Va. – This afternoon, Wythe County’s emergency management team participated in a statewide conference call with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service.

National Weather Service forecaster Dave Wirth told county leaders, “Our confidence is still very high for flooding – primarily for tonight and into the morning.”

Though officials did state that the likelihood of the most severe ‘worst-case scenarios’ mentioned in yesterday’s statewide call seemed very unlikely at this point, the potential for flash flooding and power outages remained high.

With the ground in Southwest Virginia still saturated from persistently wet weather over the past seven-days, officials remain concerned that the soil is too damp to adequately absorb additional rainwater, which has the potential to lead to flash flooding, ponding and even mudslides.

Wythe County emergency leaders are fearful that the soggy ground will weaken the stability of trees, making them more susceptible to being toppled from winds as mild as 25-30 mph.

Wirth told state and local leaders, “We are still expecting power outages – just maybe not as widespread as was previously thought.”

A flash flood watch remains in effect for Wythe County until 8 p.m. Sunday, as forecasts are predicting 2-5” of total rainfall, with higher amounts along the Blue Ridge.

“Just because the risk of the hurricane seems to have passed and the worst-case scenarios may not seem as likely doesn’t mean that it’s time for citizens to let their guards down,” said Wythe County Emergency Coordinator Jason Kinser.

“There is still great potential for flash flooding, power outages, fallen trees and even mudslides.”

Across the Commonwealth, hundreds of National Guard soldiers have been deployed in anticipation to this weekend’s weather event.

Though local leaders hope there will be no need to use these and other resources, county officials agree that it is better to have them in place and not need them, as opposed to need them and not have them in place and ready to serve.

– Wythe County Public Information Officer, Jeremy T.K. Farley

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