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One person dead and another missing after flooding in Albemarle County

Local officials responding to heavy damage from flash floods

<p>High water levels were observed on the Rivanna River Thursday.&nbsp;</p>

High water levels were observed on the Rivanna River Thursday. 

One person has been declared dead after a vehicle was caught in a flash flood Wednesday night and swept down Ivy Creek, Albemarle County Police announced Thursday. A second occupant of the same vehicle, which was swept away when the creek flooded near Old Ballard Road, remains missing. 

The identities of both individuals will be withheld until the missing person has been located. According to a press release Thursday, the search for the missing person will resume Friday morning using water rescue and ground search teams, unmanned aerial vehicles and search dogs.

The occupant of a second vehicle that was also caught in the flood was able to swim to safety.

“We’re focusing our efforts on the life safety issues right now, we’ll get to the damage assessment later on,” Albemarle County Fire Rescue Chief Dan Eggleston said at a press conference in Charlottesville Thursday evening.

According to Dominion Power, 193 customers are without power in the City of Charlottesville.

Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville have announced significant road closures in the area and the Regional Emergency Operations Center has been activated to aid in response to the flooding. According to a release, damage assessment is ongoing and will “likely extend over several days.”

“There are roadways, as you can imagine, that are damaged, that are undercut out there right now,” Eggleston said. “VDOT — Virginia Department of Transportation — is assessing that from their point of view, we’ll assess additional damage to residences and other buildings as we get our arms around this.”

Flooding near the Cosner Brothers Body Shop off East High Street on Thursday.

As an additional result of the flooding, Albemarle County Public Schools will open on a two-hour delay Friday as a result of road closures. Phil Giaramita, Strategic Communications Officer for Albemarle County Public Schools, said in a release the transportation department will inspect bus routes throughout the county Friday morning for the safety of road conditions.

“There remains a possibility that following our road inspections early tomorrow morning, it may be necessary to close schools for the day,” Giaramita said. “We will make a decision no later than 8 a.m. tomorrow morning on whether to convert the two-hour delay to a closure for the day.”

On Thursday, the Charlottesville Parks and Recreation announced the closure Riverview Park and trail as well as a partial closure of Azalea Park. According to Charlottesville Parks Division Manager Doug Ehman, repair initiatives are underway.

“Riverview Park and Riverview Trail … are going to be closed until further notice,” Ehman said. “We anticipate that to run several days while we wait for the water to recede … [At] Azalea Park, the basketball courts, the front parking lot and the restroom is available. The rest of the park is closed. We’re doing clean up and repair and getting mud out of the way.”

Meadowcreek Golf Course and all City Spray Grounds or recreational water park sites have also been closed to the public due to damage from the flooding.

“The golf course is closed until further notice,” Ehman said. “They’ve got a lot of water damage on tees and greens, they’re going to be working on that tomorrow.”