Residents Stop See Staunton River Rising in Altavista

Altavista, VA - The Staunton River at English Park has been rising, and many have stopped by to check on the river.

The good news is that the water doesn't threaten any homes, but it does threaten some roads.

As the Barbours take a break, they have a front-row view of the rising Staunton River.

"Everybody's a little curious when the water comes up," said Buddy Barbour.

He says the last time it looked like that was 10 years ago.

Ask around Altavista, and this doesn't happen a lot. Both the wastewater treatment plant and the water treatment facility sit along the river. The town is watching closely.

"It could potentially be a big deal for us because if it continues to rise, it backs the water up in Lynch Creek and it could potentially start flooding Pittsylvania Avenue," said John Tomlin, director of Public Works.

Just upstream from the Pittsylvania Ave. bridge sits the Leesville Dam. Appalachian Power runs a monstrous hydroelectric facility, and the heavy rain that blanketed the area isn't making their job any easier.

More rain means more work for dams like the one there. They aren't built to control floods; they're built to create power, says AEP Spokesperson Todd Burns.

"We can generate electricity with the amount of water going through the turbines. What we're seeing in some of our facilities is water is overtopping the dam themselves," said Burns.

Back downstream from the dam, locals were remembering other floods, some much worse than this.

Altavista officials have closed English Park.