WHEELING, W.Va. — Those who live on Wheeling Island know the warning signs. It’s anticipated those warning signs are starting to be quickly triggered as the Ohio River continued coming up on Friday.
“The National Weather Service has upped our crest forecast to about 39.7 feet, that’s almost four feet over flood stage,” said Philip Stahl, Public Information Officer for the Wheeling Police and Fire Department. “That will affect a lot of Wheeling Island, parts of south Wheeling and other parts of the city.”
Authorities are preparing for a long weekend a day after heavy rains pushed smaller streams out of their banks in the rural areas of Ohio County.
“Some of the creeks are pretty swollen and high,” Stahl said. “But they’re not flooding They’re pumping some basements out, but it’s fairly minimal when you look at the whole picture.”
The crest at New Martinsville is expected to be just over 35 feet which could mean flooding in that river town as well from the Ohio. The warnings cascaded most of Friday down the state extending into the Kanawha Valley and coalfield counties where persistent rain pushed streams up and out of their banks, leaving many roads flooded and impassable.
“The ground is so saturated we’re seeing this long duration rainfall event and it’s a slow rise we’re seeing in streams and creeks,” said Meteorologist Mike Kistner at the National Weather Service in Charleston. “We’re looking at flood warnings across the bulk of the state.”
Although there is a cold front moving into the state which could produce lower temperatures and possibly a wintry mix, there are already problems.
“We’ve had reports of numerous roads closed due to creeks being out of their banks,” said Kistner. “We expect it to continue right up until sunset.”
As usual emergency officials advise never driving through a flooded road and keeping an eye to the local media and weather service outlets to keep advised on changes as the situation warrants.