MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A lull in rain through the evening will end around midnight, leading to an extension of the flash flood watch through 2 a.m. Wednesday.
That flash flood watch is in effect in parts of Monongalia, Marion, Wetzel, Marshall, Ohio, Brooke, and Hancock counties.
“More heavy rain moves in during the night, and I think the worst of it comes between midnight and about 3 a.m.,” said Bob Larson, a senior meteorologist with Accuweather. “Rains will then be shifting east and out of the area.”
Larson attributed part of the concerns over flooding to the time of year, where early Spring grounds still are frozen.
“Flash flooding is certainly a concern, particularly since we are looking at, in many cases, the ground still partially frozen,” he said. “We can’t absorb all that water into the ground as quickly as we can later in the spring. So flash flooding is the biggest concern.”
A thunderstorm with strong winds is also possible in the area early Wednesday morning.
“Strictly rain,” Larson said. “Much of the night will be very mild until the front passes in the pre-dawn hours. It will be a lot colder behind that front, but by then the rain will be long gone.”
A flood warning is in effect until 7:45 p.m. for Monongalia, Wetzel, Marshall, and Marion counties.
“There’s officially been between one half and three quarters of an inch of rain, which is not extraordinary,” Larson said. “But that fell over a relatively short period of time, which makes it seem worse than the actual total. But we’re in line for another half inch to, perhaps, an inch and a half on top of that — bringing rainfall totals of an inch and a half to perhaps two and a half inches for this particular front.”
The warning suggests flooding is already happening. The National Weather Service included Morgantown, Fairmont, Moundsville, New Martinsville, Westover, Mannington, Star City, Shadyside, McMechen, Glen Dale, Barrackville, and Cameron in their flood warning.
“And there is a difference between flash flooding and flooding,” Larson said. “Flash flooding is something that can occur very quickly as it does during a cloud burst during a summer thunderstorm versus a two day or three day rainstorm where the water is gradually built up.”
MECCA 911 in Monongalia County said there had been some minor, localized flooding, but nothing impacting roadways or buildings thus far.
“It’s going to stop for several hours before it comes back,” Larson said. “And we don’t want to be lulled into a sense of security thinking it’s all done, because it’s not.”
Marion County 911 and Wetzel County 911 each reported no flooding through 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
In Marshall County, Fish Creek Road is closed in three very rural areas.
The National Weather Service also said in their warning that mudslides are a possibility due to the saturated nature of the soil.