COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WRIC) — Colonial Heights experienced significant flooding after heavy rainfall yesterday. The Branders Road Bridge and Swift Creek Mill Theatre both experienced lasting damage from the flooding.
Some of the worst flood damage in the area was at the theatre. The artistic director Tom Width says the entire bottom floor of the building is underwater. He says this is the fastest moving flash flood the theatre has seen in more than 40 years.
“Within 12 hours, it went from about three or four feet on the flood stick to 15 feet on the flood stick,” Width said.
Massive cargo trailers behind the theatre were picked up by the flood and carried away. “That was fascinating to watch because it’s probably 20 tons,” Width said.
8News saw very elevated water levels in the Swift Creek throughout the day Sunday. Pieces of the road were seen scattered on the Branders Road bridge while a floating dock sat lodged into the side of the bridge. A voluntary evacuation notice was placed for the surrounding area Sunday morning and expired that afternoon after crews repaired eroded areas near the Lakeview dam.
Water originally filled the ground floor about two feet but receded on Sunday.
“There’s muddy, creek slime all over everything down there so the cleanup is gonna be absolutely humongous,” Width said.
People in the area stopped by to look at the damage and rushing water throughout the day Sunday. Onlookers like Lee Corcoran were in awe. “Beyond words can explain,” he said.
“I just hope that the community comes together, pulls together and helps everybody clean up after the devastation,” Corcoran said.
Width told 8News that the building does have insurance but it won’t cover the full cost of repairs. If you want to help, you can donate to the theater here.