Multiple Swift-Water Rescues Needed in Heavy Virginia Rainstorm

Roanoke Fire-EMS performed six swift water rescues after a storm slammed the city early Wednesday evening.

Heavy rain deluged the Roanoke Valley for a brief time, with Roanoke recording almost 2 inches of rain between 6 and 7 p.m. The rain quickly flooded roadways and areas of downtown Roanoke, sending rescue crews out to retrieve people trapped by rushing water .

Roanoke Fire-EMS used a boat to rescue drivers trapped in Shaffer ‘s Crossing on Boulevard Street Southwest about 6:30 p.m. The other five rescues involved escorting stranded drivers from their cars to dry land, department spokeswoman Tiffany Bradbury said.

Those rescues took place at Melrose Avenue and Peters Creed Road Northwest, Pocahontas Avenue and Williamson Road Northeast, Jefferson Street and Salem Avenue Southwest, and Kimball Avenue and Orange Avenue Northeast.

City firefighters also extinguished two fires caused by lightning strikes, Bradbury said.

The first fire happened about 6:30 p.m. in the 1900 block of Walmann Road Southwest. No injuries were reported. One person was displaced and is staying with family.

The second fire happened in the 300 block of Albemarle Avenue Southwest about 7:10 p.m. A shed on a property next to Wildflour Cafe in the Old Southwest neighborhood caught on fire. No injuries were reported.

The storm also knocked out power to a couple thousand customers in the Roanoke and New River Valleys. Appalachian Power Co. gradually restored power to customers in Pulaski, Roanoke County and Botetourt County into Wednesday night.

Roanoke County firefighters also extinguished flames caused by a lightning strike, Fire & Rescue spokeswoman Jennifer Conley Sexton said. A neighbor reported smoke coming out of a house in the 6300 block of Stonecroft Court about 7 p.m. The house was vacant. The fire caused $30,000 in damage.

With severe weather again expected on Thursday, Roanoke Fire-EMS encouraged people to be aware of conditions and avoid flooded roadways.

Weather columnist Kevin Myatt contributed to this report.

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