Over the past 50 years, the Central Shenandoah Region has experienced natural disasters ranging from tropical systems, winter storms, tornadoes, and derechoes but instead of succumbing to its vulnerabilities, has decided with the assistance of the CSPDC to forge a path of resilience.
The year 1969 was a year of historical events; a man walked on the moon, the Woodstock music festival occurred, the CSPDC was established, and Hurricane Camille made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane. By the time Camille reached Virginia, it combined with other weather factors to cause cataclysmic rainfall; 31 inches in Nelson County and 8 inches in Rockbridge County. I n Virginia 153 people died, including 23 people in Rockbridge County. Hurricane Camille was the start of flooding that, over the next 30 years, would devastate communities in the Central Shenandoah Region, including Agnes in 1972, the Election Day Flood in 1985, June Floods in 1995, Hurricane Fran in 1996, and Hurricane Isabel in 2003.
To end the cycle of damage and repair, the CSPDC stepped in after the 1995 floods to help localities with numerous flood mitigation projects designed to protect people and property through elevation, relocation, and acquisition of homes, and floodproofing of businesses. In 2000, the Shenandoah Valley Project Impact was formed to educate people on how to prepare for severe weather, emergencies, and disasters and to put in place mitigation measures that reduce damages. This was followed by starting the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program in 2003. For over 15 years, the CSPDC has been assisting the communities in our region with Emergency Operations Plans, Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Plans, and Community Wildfire Protection Plans. The CSPDC also maintains the Central Shenandoah Hazard Mitigation Plan.