Staunton prepares for potential flooding from remnants of Hurricane Ida

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 9:05 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Staunton is expecting rain from the remains of Hurricane Ida, anywhere from 2-4 inches, with the bulk coming on Wednesday.

The city is taking steps to prepare for possible flooding, and encouraging business owners and people at home to do the same.

There was little warning last August when flash flooding devastated parts of Staunton. Right now, many are grateful for the heads up.

“Just a little bit of inconvenience and disruption, but probably worth being prepared instead of walking into 6 foot [sic] of water in the building,” said Jeff Ramsey, who owns Byers Street Bistro in Staunton’s Wharf District.

That is exactly what happened at his business last August. “We just don’t want to relive it,” he stated. “We’ve been through it three or four times now.”

Thanks to some warning, Ramsey is better prepared for potential flooding this year.

“We have backflow preventers on all the lines so we don’t have to worry about it coming from the inside,” he said.

And, most of the flood gates are up, except for the front door since they will remain open. If they have to work from the inside, they have flood bars.

“We can just take these off, they’re really heavy, and then we can just put them in place,” Ramsey said.

The city is getting ready too, lowering the level at Lake Tams a little, and making sure storm drains, and drop inlets are clear. “That the water can find an easy way off the streets and into the storm drains,” Public Works Director Jeff Johnston stated. “I encourage everyone to take advantage of the fact that we know tomorrow’s gonna be a rainy day.”

The city is asking people who live and own businesses in low-lying areas prone to flooding to secure items that could be carried away by rising water, or high winds, don’t park in those areas, and of course, don’t walk, swim, or drive through floodwaters.

Preparations for Hurricane Ida

The City of Staunton is preparing for the potential impact of Hurricane Ida and is encouraging residents to take precautions.

Post Date: 08/30/2021

AUGUST 30, 2021: The City of Staunton is preparing for the potential impact of Hurricane Ida and is encouraging residents to take precautions. The current forecast shows that the remnants of the storm will affect Virginia later this week with possible rainfall of 2-4 inches. This amount could cause flooding. The City’s emergency management team is encouraging residents to be prepared, as the path of the storm is still uncertain.

City Preparations


  • Local emergency management officials are mobilizing resources and monitoring state and federal sources to stay informed of the latest storm track.
  • The City’s Public Works Department has commenced efforts to clear storm drain inlets, pipes, and culverts, and to clear debris and remove obstructions from creeks. Owners and occupants of properties are requested to assist the City by clearing storm drain inlets on or adjacent to their properties.
  • Tomorrow, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department will begin a slow release of water in Lake Tams in Gypsy Hill Park to increase its stormwater retention capacity. With the increased capacity, the amount of water that reaches the main watercourse immediately after this week’s rain will be reduced, possibly mitigating the effects of flooding downstream.

Safety Measures

  • The City advises owners and occupants of properties on Byers Street, Lewis Street, and Central Avenue, whose properties are equipped with flood shields, to monitor the storm and be prepared to mount shields if conditions warrant.
  • To mitigate potential flood debris, residents in low-lying areas prone to flooding are asked to secure items that could be carried away by rising waters or high winds such as outdoor furniture, grills, children’s toys, and trash cans.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through floodwaters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
  • Avoid downed power lines; report them immediately to 911 and Dominion Energy at 800.366.4357.

Closures & Cancellations


  • Street and park closures may be necessary, depending on conditions during the storm. Observe signs posted by the City and stay tuned for updates on closures and cancellations.
  • Individuals are asked to avoid parking in low-lying areas prone to flooding. Fee-free, off-street parking is available in the New Street and Johnson Street parking garages from 6 pm on Tuesday, August 31 to 8 am on Thursday, September 2.

Emergency Alerts

  • The City’s emergency management team urges individuals to subscribe to Staunton Alert Messages, the City’s emergency alert system, to stay updated if the storm severely impacts the City. Individuals can opt to receive emergency alerts via text, phone call, and email.
  • Individuals should also stay tuned to the City of Staunton’s Facebook and Twitter pages to get the latest information — on Facebook: City of Staunton; on Twitter: @StauntonCityVA.
  • In an emergency, always call 911.Do not contact the City through social media channels or through non-emergency numbers to report an emergency.

Additional Safety Guidelines and Personal Preparedness:


City officials strongly stress the importance of personal preparedness in pending storm situations, noting that the best protection comes from having disaster plans and emergency kits for homes and businesses. The following link connects to hurricane preparedness information from the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission:

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