Radford Flooding: Worst City Has Seen in More Than a Decade

Radford, VA - Parts of Radford were still under water Thursday, as the New River has yet to recede back to its banks.

Parks and streets still remained closed there. A water conservation notice that was in place, was lifted.

City officials are estimating with significant damage to public and private property, the road to recovery is going to be a long and expensive one.

"I've lived here since I was born and I've never seen it this bad" said resident Sarah Flinchum as she looked out onto a submerged playground.

"It's sad, you can't describe it" she said.

At Radford's River View Park, crowds came to see the devastation. Snapping pictures of what once was a playground.

"Sad, I liked that playground" remarked one boy.

"The water got up into the control panels for our screening operation of the plant and we shut down and just allowed the waters to recede before going back into operation" said Radford's water plant superintendent, Lawrence Rice.

At its peak, the flood waters submerged part of a city water treatment station; prompting a water conservation notice.

"I actually wanted to go somewhere this weekend, but now my plans are ruined" said one man whose car was under water.

In a parking lot, outside of Radford University's basketball arena, more than 100 cars were taken by flood waters.

"Now you can actually see all these cars. Three o'clock, you couldn't even see hardly the roofs of these automobiles at that time" said Radford Emergency Services Coordinator, Lee Simpkins.

The flood waters crested at more than 21 feet, consuming three city parks, miles of bike trails, and the Radford animal shelter.

Parking lots under water may take days to drain.

"Like I say, until the water recedes, we just don't really know the amount of damage we'll have" said Simpkins.

Officials said two dams in Wythe County held during the storm. They said had those dams broken, parts of Radford that were dry following the storm, could have been under feet of water.

Financial estimates on damage caused by the flooding may not be known for days, even weeks to come.