Staunton businesses taking stock after flooding causes widespread damage

Staunton businesses taking stock after flooding causes widespread damage
Businesses in Staunton are faced with the prospect of rebuilding during the pandemic after a flash flood on Saturday. (Source: WVIR)

STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Many businesses in Staunton had already been struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, and now are facing the prospect of rebuilding after flash flooding late Saturday night.

Meteorologists and weather observers reported three to four inches of rain fell in Staunton in just two hours.

“Water pouring through the Wharf parking lot and a couple cars actually floating in the road out here,” Wharf resident Kurt Plowman said. “There was absolutely nothing you could do. I threw some sandbags but they were worthless.”

“I got a call from my alarm company that an entry sensor had tripped and it was the door smashing open,” Eccohollow owner Wavely Groves said. “We just stood here and waited for the water to go away.”

Friends and patrons are chipping in to help clean out Eccohollow. The guitar amp repair shop, record store and recording studio was filled with three to four feet of water.

“We just pulled out a 50s Gretsch amplifier that we don’t even know where the rest of the amp is. Every speaker in the place is destroyed,” Groves explained.

Further down Lewis street, John and Stella Matheny came in early Sunday morning to assess the damage to their restaurant, The Store. The water line left on the back of the building is over six feet high, and the restaurant is filled with mud.

“It’s bad. It’s bad, bad,” John said. “We have some of our shelves and seating that’s up against the front door. All of the refrigeration units are tipped over. There’s food everywhere. There’s broken waterlines. It’s devastation.”

There are remnants of destruction throughout the area, with cars carried down the streets and at least one dumpster moved up onto a sidewalk. Crawdads most likely carried from Lewis Creek littered parking lots nearby. Countless vehicles left behind in the water needed to be towed. In The Wharf, some spaces are still under water, and the entire area is covered in sludge. 

“The storm drains we have here on The Wharf go into the creek and when the creek’s overflowing there’s now way for it to go,” Plowman said. He lives and owns property in The wharf remembers the storm fifteen years ago that flooded the area.

“This was more. We had 2-2 1/2 feet of water in the store,” Plowman said. There was at least four feet this time.”

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