CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s been quite a week in West Virginia. Actually, it’s been quite a July. Training thunderstorms in succession have poured up to four inches of rain at a time on parts of West Virginia. The result has been streams out of their banks, roads washed out, and power failures. In some severe cases in Lincoln and Wood Counties a lot of homes have been damaged or destroyed.
When considering the aftermath, a column about fishing seems a bit insensitive, but lets hope we can avoid any further tragedy.
As the weather changes back over to a more summer like pattern, expect a lot of people hungry for some recreation to head back out. Typically in West Virginia and outdoor adventure at this time of year is somewhere near the water. If this is you, be careful.
Once the sun is shining, and the news crews have left the flood cleanup stories it doesn’t mean the danger is completely gone. Streams are still running his, especially for the middle of July. You’ll also find lakes in the Huntington District of the Corps of Engineers overflowing with stored rainwater.
“Those projects do have recreation facilities upstream of the dam around the lake,” said Corps of Engineers Hydrologist Bryce Carmichael. “At certain points when we are storing flood waters the lake comes up and they have to flood proof and close some campgrounds at certain elevations.”
Call ahead if you’re planning to be at the lake. Those Corps lakes in central and southern West Virginia were built with the main mission of mitigating downstream flooding, but in some cases the can only do so much.
“At Sutton over the weekend the event came in and dumped three inches of rain just downstream of the dam,” he said. “Therefore the dam was not able to impound those waters and it went straight into the channel downstream of the dam and caused our gauge at Frametown to spike above flood control stage.”
Be aware if you’re headed out this weekend streams are probably still going to be running high. Strong currents can be dangerous if you’re boating or accidentally fall in. Check the USGS Stream Gauges for water levels if you’re headed to a river and wear a life jacket is you’re on the water.