Storms across the greater Bristol region produced hail in the early morning hours of Sunday, plus wild winds up to 40 mph at the Tri-Cities Regional Airport.
Flooded campgrounds along Beaver Creek closed at Bristol Motor Speedway as Sunday’s race events were postponed to Monday. Fortunately, no injuries were reported, said Capt. Walter Brown of the Bristol Tennessee Police Department.
In Virginia, several streets across Abingdon flooded over the weekend as advisories were issued by the Abingdon Police Department, warning motorists to steer clear of:
» Tunnel Street at Old Saltworks Road;
» Deadmore Street NE, which connects Main Street and Valley Street; and
» The 300 block of East Main Street.
“Main Street has been a nightmare. It’s been closed due to the water,” said Theresa Kingsley-Varble, emergency management coordinator for Washington County, Virginia.
Hail in Bristol
Heavy rains arrived midday on Saturday in Bristol and continued through Sunday afternoon with periodic thunder and lightning.
Locations from Johnson City, Tennessee, to Wise, Virginia, received two or more inches of rain over the weekend, said meteorologist Jeremy Buckles with the National Weather Service in Morristown, Tennessee.
“This was really just a strong spring storm system,” Buckles said.
Quarter-size hail fell across Bristol and Abingdon around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, Buckles said.
The meteorologist reported the hail measured about an inch in diameter at Bristol.
As much as 5 inches of rain fell in Jonesville, Virginia, the courthouse town of Lee County.
“But even though the heavy rain has ended, there is still high water,” Buckles said. “There are still flooded roads to encounter. You never know how stable that road is after it’s been flooded.”
Waters in Washington County
In the wee hours of Sunday morning, rain caused a normally dry streambed to rush with noisy waters in the Wallace community just off Clear Creek Road in Washington County. At that same time, a tree fell across both lanes of Clear Creek Road, about a mile off I-81’s Exit 7, temporarily obstructing traffic flow at 3 a.m.
Elsewhere in Washington County, Virginia, flooding affected Civil Drive at Mendota, Fall Hill Road at Greendale and the junction of Sinking Creek Road and Kyle Lane near High Point Elementary School, according to Kingsley-Varble.
“We’re having the same flooding issues that we normally do,” Kingsley-Varble said. “North Fork River Road was under water. … From what I understand, the river hasn’t crested yet.”
River flood warnings were in effect through Monday afternoon for the North Fork of the Holston River in Weber City, Virginia, Buckles said.
Also in Scott County, the Clinch River was expected to remain in a flood zone through Tuesday afternoon at Clinchport and Speers Ferry, said Buckles.
‘A total loss’
On Saturday, a tree fell into Shelter F at Steele Creek Park in Bristol, Tennessee, said Lance Jessee, 27, assistant naturalist of the Nature Center at Steele Creek Park.
“It will either have to be rebuilt or torn down,” Jessee said.
Terry Napier, director of parks and recreation for Bristol, Tennessee, identified the tree as a white pine and said a dozen such trees fell across the park property over the weekend.
The 10-year-old shelter — with two tables, a grill, water and electricity hook-up — was “a total loss,” Napier said.
Work was slated to begin Monday to clean up the trees and make a plan to rebuild the shelter, Napier said.
“Steele Creek appears to catch many windbursts and downbursts,” Napier said. “I don’t know if it’s because we’re so open. But we seem to lose a tree or two every storm.”
Across Southwest Virginia
On Sunday afternoon, approximately 40 secondary roads and two primary highways had been impacted by storm conditions across Southwest Virginia, said Michelle Earl, spokeswoman for the Bristol district of the Virginia Department of Transportation.
That included a high-wind advisory on I-77 in Carroll County and floodwaters on state Route 83 in Buchanan County.
Across Russell County, flooding impacted River Road, Moccasin Creek and state Route 71, said Jess Powers, the emergency management coordinator for Russell County.
More flooded roadways in Russell County included Artrip Road and Thomas Warner Road, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Smyth County roads have been affected across all three forks of the Holston River, said Curtis Crawford, the emergency service coordinator for Smyth County.
Yet flooding did not prompt any evacuations or rescues, Crawford said.
“It wasn’t the wind as much. It’s the amount of rain,” Crawford said. “The ground is just oversaturated as it is, and there’s no place for the water to go. It’s just not seeping into the ground.”
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