Local News

Local News updated by 7:30 a.m. and periodically throughout the day. Actualities listed by number in news copy below can be heard by playing the radio broadcast below.

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Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020

Tropical Storm Zeta is currently quickly skirting through central Alabama, into northern Georgia, and eastern Tennessee. The rapid speed is expected to persist as it continues to travel northeast toward the Mid-Atlantic this morning. Further weakening is expected as the system approaches the region. As Zeta moves toward the region, tropical storm force winds will begin to impact southwestern areas, especially along and east of the Blue Ridge, across northwest North Carolina early today, with these winds spreading northeast across sections along and east of the Blue Ridge in Virginia through this morning into the afternoon across the Piedmont. Wind gusts in the 30 to 40 mph range with isolated higher gusts in rain bands to the northeast of the center can be expected along and east of the Blue Ridge. These winds could be strong enough to topple trees and result in power outages. In addition, brief, isolated tornadoes can not be ruled out for mainly areas around the Southside near Danville and down into the North Carolina piedmont late this morning into the afternoon. Heavy rainfall will accompany Zeta with amounts of 1 to 2 inches widespread along and west of the Blue Ridge with locally 2 to 3 inches across the mountains of western North Carolina into far southwest Virginia. Because of this rainfall, flash flooding and flooding could occur this morning, and into the afternoon. This storm is capable of producing wind damage, flooding and spin-off tornadoes. You are advised to take precautions at this time.

Your forecast for Martinsville and Henry County – 100% chance of rain today with patchy fog before noon and a high of 75. Wind gusts up to 45 mph are possible. Mostly cloudy tonight with a low of 50 and a 40% chance of rain. Sunny on Friday with a high of 60 and wind gusts up to 21 mph.

Some customers of the Henry County Public Service Authority may see cloudy or murky water from their spigots today, the county announced in a release. A control valve malfunctioned near Trent Hill Drive in the Bassett area overnight, and it resulted in sediment being released from the main water lines running from the plant. “The water and turbidity continue to be in contact with chlorine to ensure safety,” PSA Director of Regulatory Compliance and Technical Applications Mike Ward said in the release. “It may be unsightly, but it isn’t harmful. We suggest that customers let the water run for a short period before using or consuming it.”

By the end of this year, everyone in Martinsville will have access to high-capacity and high-speed wireless internet service. The announcement came at the end of Tuesday night’s regular meeting of the Martinsville City Council, when City Manager Leon Towarnicki told council that the city had the federal money in hand to expand the city’s MiNet internet service and intended to make it happen in six weeks.

A judge ruled Wednesday that Virginia elections officials cannot count absentee ballots with missing postmarks unless they can confirm the date of mailing through a barcode, granting part of an injunction requested by a conservative legal group. The Public Interest Legal Foundation sued the Virginia Department of Elections and members of the Virginia State Board of Elections earlier this month, challenging a regulation that instructed local election officials to count absentee ballots with missing or illegible postmarks — as long as the ballots are received by noon on the Friday after Election Day, Nov. 3.

Kroger will soon have rapid COVID-19 antibody tests at all its pharmacies across the country, the grocery chain announced Wednesday. The FDA-authorized tests are already available at Kroger pharmacies in Michigan and California but will be at all locations by the end of November. They will check to see if a person has previously had coronavirus. The tests cost $25 and typically provide results within 15 minutes.

If you’re driving down US-220 in Franklin County, you’ll notice a new greeting. Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge has partnered with the county on the new water tank, which is in between Rocky Mount and Boones Mill. Residents and local businesses will benefit from the extra water supply, water pressure, and additional fire protection. Officials say the tank holds 500,000 gallons of water and is made to match the color of the surrounding landscape.