The Tye River is a 35.4-mile-long (57.0 km) tributary of the James River in central Virginia in the United States. Originating on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Nelson County, and fed by the Piney and Buffalo rivers, by way of the James River it is part of the watershed of the Chesapeake Bay.
Although normally it is one of the more minor tributaries of the James River, in August 1969, the Tye River was at the center of one of Virginia's worst natural disasters. In the aftermath of Hurricane Camille, which had devastated the Gulf Coast of Mississippi a few days earlier, the remnants of the Category 5 hurricane stalled over mostly rural Nelson County, causing an unprecedented deluge of rain, mostly within a 3-hour period as people slept unaware of the threat. In the flash flooding and mudslides, entire communities were virtually wiped out, killing hundreds of Virginians, some of whose bodies were never found. Bridges, roads, railroads, and communications were severed for days, resulting in an estimated $140 million in property damages.
In Massies Mill, one of the hardest hit communities in the Camille disaster, the Sierra Club erected a memorial in a small park which is dedicated to those who lost their lives and families in 1969. In modern times, the Tye River has become one of the more scenic and popular recreational waterways in Virginia.
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