In Brief Scottsville Flooding Explained July 1, 2009 Waldo Jaquith 5 Comments S’ville officials say their flooding was because they opened the levee gates. That’ll do it.
5 thoughts on “Scottsville Flooding Explained”
From reading the article, it doesn’t sound like opening the gates is what caused the flooding. They were letting water out from the creek that flooded.
I talked to a friend who was in Scottsville that night, and he said the James was only up a few feet.
I’ll admit that I puzzled over this article in an effort to explain it here, and I wasn’t (and still am not) clear on what I was reading. Three causes are listed in the article:
1. “the large amount of rain in a short period of time”
2. “the emergency spillway for Mink Creek overflowed”
3. “open[ing] the levee gates and let[ting] the water flow out.”
My guess is that #1 is true no matter what, so we’ll accept that as a root cause. Now, you could well be right that #3 wasn’t a cause of flooding, but a source of relief from flooding—I’m not sure, because I don’t know much at all about how these systems work. But to my reading, it looks like the levee superintendent is saying that was the cause. (Where cause #2 fits in here, I have no idea.)
So your interpretation, as I understand it, is that 1. there was lots of rain 2. the emergency spillway overflowed and started to flood the town, so 3. they opened the levee gates to let the water leave the town and enter the James. Is that right?
I think your final analysis is correct. just too much rain in the mink creek watershed for the pumps to handle.When the James is up the only way to get the creek water out is to pump, but gravity works fine when the river is low enough
I don’t believe any of it. None of what I’ve heard (news or town officials) has satisfactorily explained why it happened. If they had this much problems with 5 to 6 inches of rain over a 6 hour time frame (the rain started at 950pm and continued well into the early am hours) then god help them if there was actually hurricane strength rainfall.
So having some fun with this here’s my unsubstantiated theory of what happened.
I think the power went out so the alarm didn’t go off in time. So they were late arriving and getting the back up diesel system running, which with the volume of rain meant that they were forced to play a game of “catch up” which the pumps couldn’t handle. At that point someone decided it would be a good idea to open the gates. This backfired, because with all that rain the James was up too and in all the days that mink creek wasn’t dammed simply having that free flow to the james wasn’t enough to prevent a back up.
And as bad as the James river is regarding Scottsville flooding, it’s usually Mink Creek backing up which causes the immediate area to flood.
My 2 cents anyway.
One more postscript…
Does the town of Scottsville have any business spending money on those “beautification projects” when infrastructure failures like this still occur?
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