Flash floods wallop downtown Richmond, eyewitness videos detail damage


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Stranded cars, detours from floods, college classes canceled, a small businesses’ ceiling tiles crashed to the ground; all documented Thursday afternoon following the late summer storm swell that swept across metro Richmond.

Nearly three inches of rain reportedly fell Thursday afternoon in parts of downtown, producing flooded streets and nightmares for drivers and pedestrians just prior to the rush hour commute.

Much of the drama was caught on camera and submitted to 8News.

8News viewer Myra Bashinski sent in this video taken near the Washington Football Team training camp in Richmond.

On Grace Street, where many VCU students spend time taking classes and grabbing a bite to eat, was under one foot of water. The road was covered by an apparent current of moving water.

VCU canceled in-person classes Thursday evening as a result of the flooding to survey the damage to campus buildings. The university later said that several buildings would be closed for repairs until further notice.

An employee at Village Cafe submitted a video of water spreading across the tiled floor with customers inside, peering out the front window at rising water; audibly admitting opening the doors would further flood the restaurant.

Flash flooding seen from inside Village Cafe on Grace Street

“There is a river outside!”, Employee Hannah Larsen said in the video.

Taylor’s Barbershop on E. Broad Street was the target of heavy damage from leaking ceilings, leading to soaked ceiling tiles and swamped equipment.

Barbershop Owner DaWayne Taylor said an employee called him while the water fell during a haircut saying, “He just called really upset. The whole shop was flooded. He couldn’t do anything. Tiles started to fall out of the roof as he was cutting hair.“

Taylor went on to note he already thought about leaving the location due to ongoing leaks, but Thursday’s developments were the last straw.

“We’re going to have to relocate…”

“Today there’s just no return because of the actual leaks in the flooding in the shop. How my team makes a living is destroyed,” he said.

Water rescue crews were called to the downtown expressway near City Stadium around 3 p.m. where a work truck was stranded. The driver was pulled to safety as drivers, confined to one lane, passed.

(Video: Paul Nevadomski/WRIC)

Caught on a VDOT camera, I-95 south was shut down near Jackson Ward after State Police said several cars were stuck.

So, when not pooling on the streets, where does all that water go?

The city shared video of their combined sewer system. Two large retention basins filled up; reportedly holding 57 million gallons of wastewater and stormwater.

Seemingly not enough to handle all problems – a manhole cover was bubbling near the Washington Football Team training camp, according to a viewer who submitted video.

All too many drivers were, once again, caught in the middle of sudden, surging waters.

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