SUFFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Hurricane Matthew’s heavy rains soaked Hampton Roads and the Outer Banks, flooding urban and rural roads, while powerful winds toppled trees along interstates, in heavily populated localities and outlying rural areas.
Two trees fell across Eastbound Interstate 64 on the Peninsula and one continued to block eastbound travel in York County as of 5 p.m. Sunday. Nearly a dozen trees went down along Interstates 264, 64 and 464, most in the Bowers Hill region, late Saturday evening. VDOT crews worked aggressively throughout the night and into Sunday to clear roads and reopen main arteries, primary and most secondary roadways.
From the Maryland line to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, VDOT crews on the Eastern shore spent Sunday responding to flooded primary and secondary roads. Most primary roads, including Route 13, are passable but patches of standing water remain.
In Hampton Roads, high waters forced the closing of southbound travel over the James River Bridge on Saturday evening. The closure lasted until late Sunday afternoon.
Jamestown-Scotland Ferry Service was suspended during the height of the storm and full service was restored by 4 p.m. Sunday.
Widespread flooding was reported throughout the region, hitting the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach particularly hard. Route 58 in the City of Franklin remains closed due to standing water. Numerous on and off-ramps to interstates were closed from Saturday evening through midday Sunday, but most have since reopened. Route 460 in Isle of Wight County was closed for nearly nine hours due to impassable conditions.
Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne, visiting one hard hit area of Virginia Beach, called the effects of the storm “more severe than predicted,” and added Hampton Roads and Southeast Virginia were the hardest hit regions in the commonwealth.
Severe winds and water ponding on roadways, mixed with already saturated grounds created extreme challenges for crews. But Layne said VDOT pre-positioned crews on Friday and early Saturday which helped them get an early start on cleanup operations.
The intensity of Matthew's impact on the area caught many by surprise. 13News Now meteorologist Evan Stewart posted on his Facebook page what went wrong in the forecast:
As the cleanup continues, motorists are encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel. Those who must travel are encouraged to use VDOT’s free travel tools:
- Visit www.511virginia.org
- Call 511
- Or listen to Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) 1680 AM for the most current conditions and advisories. Information is also available on Twitter@VaDOTHR