Heavy rains and flash floods wreaked havoc on Surry County Thursday leading to a host of weather-related events, including two tense water rescues.
In the first of two rescues, Patsy Joan Jackson, Country Meadow Lane, Pilot Mountain, was extricated from her car after striking a bridge with her vehicle and going into the water.
The accident took place in the Ararat community at the bridge on Longhill Road near Whitestone Trail.
According to John Shelton, Surry County emergency services director, Jackson’s vehicle struck the bridge, went over the bridge, and came to rest against a tree in the swiftly flowing flood waters with Jackson trapped inside.
The call came into Surry emergency services at 2:42 p.m. and Pilot Mountain Rescue, Ararat Volunteer Fire Department, Bannertown Volunteer Fire Department, Mount Airy Rescue and Surry Emergency Services responded to the call.
First responders from Pilot Mountain Rescue and Ararat Fire Department were able to get a ladder down the embankment and bring Jackson back up.
She was transported in stable condition to Northern Hospital of Surry.
“She was very lucky,” said Shelton. “Very lucky.”
A second water rescue occurred on the low-water bridge in Rockford when a motorist became stranded there. He was assisted by Surry emergency services and a team of Department of Transportation workers who were nearby cutting trees.
In addition to the two water rescues, emergency services received calls for 100 trees that were down in the county, nine downed power lines, five fires resulting from the storm and 13 flooding events.
Several locations, including Carson Creek Road, Imogene Church Road, Old Mill Road and Ramey Creek Road had water across the roadway as early as Thursday morning, according to Shelton.
Surry County Parks and Recreation closed Fisher River Park in Dobson until further notice. Bradley Key, spokesman for the department, said, “We’ve closed the park for safety reasons. It’s a low-lying area, and it can get flooded pretty quickly. I don’t know when the park will re-open. The park supervisor and (Parks and Recreation) director will re-evaluate tonight.”
Mount Airy Parks and Recreation closed all of the city’s parks on Thursday as well as the Granite City Greenway, according to Parks and Recreation Director Darren Lewis.
“We will evaluate in the morning at the time the parks open. Right now, there is water over several parts of the trail and in parts of the park. The water is higher in Riverside Park than I have ever seen it,” said Lewis.
At 5 p.m., flood waters from the Ararat River had covered a large portion of Riverside Park, reaching to within 20 feet of the park’s entry gates on Riverside Drive.
As a flash flood warning issued by the National Weather Service was about to expire at 5:15 p.m., the service extended it until 11 p.m., due to multiple road and bridge closures reported across the warned area of Surry and Yadkin counties, due to heavy rain earlier in the day.
“While the heaviest rain has passed these impacts will persist for the next several hours,” according to Weather Service reports. “Four or more inches of rain have fallen in portions of the warned area since yesterday. Please continue to heed any road closures until authorities indicate that they are safe to pass.”
The Weather Service has also posted a wind advisory for Surry County until 11 a.m. Friday.
The Weather Service predicted partly cloudy with a chance of showers Thursday evening, then mostly clear after midnight, breezy and much cooler with lows in the lower 50s, Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph, gusts up to 40 mph Thursday evening, chance of rain 50 percent.
Friday weather is predicted to be sunny with highs in the upper 60s, Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph with gusts up to 30 mph.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.