BERKELEY COUNTY, W.Va. — It could be Wednesday before flood warnings from the National Weather Service are lifted in parts of West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle.
On Sunday afternoon, flood warnings were extended until 1:30 a.m. Monday at least for the following counties: Jefferson, Morgan, Mineral, Hardy, Berkeley and Hampshire.
Gov. Jim Justice issued a state of emergency for those counties plus Pendleton and Grant counties.
The governor authorized use of all state assets needed for assistance. He directed the State Police and West Virginia National Guard to assist.
Swift water rescue teams from the National Guard and other surrounding areas were performing emergency evacuations.
The state Emergency Operations Center was activated.
Two to five inches of rain had fallen on some communities in those counties through the weekend, meteorologists reported, and additional rain on Sunday afternoon was expected to prolong or worsen flooding that started back on Friday night in some cases.
“We’ve had an extended period of rain over the past week here in the region,” James Lee, meteorologist with the National Weather Service for the Baltimore-Washington Area, told MetroNews on Sunday.
The heaviest rain, he said, was localized.
On Sunday, flooding was said to be “significant” in portions of Hampshire County and Morgan County.
Along the Great Cacapon River in Morgan County, forecasted flooding was raised from “minor” to “moderate” on Sunday.
As of 12 p.m. Sunday, the Great Cacapon River near Great Cacapon was said to be at 13.4 feet and rising — more than four feet above flood stage. Overnight Sunday, the river was expected to near 16.5 feet.
At 17 feet, officials said Route 9 in Morgan County typically sees flooding in multiple locations.
Along the Shenandoah River at Millville in Jefferson County, the river was nearing flood stage on Sunday afternoon ahead of an expected crested near 13.8 feet, three feet above flood stage, by Monday morning.
A flood warning was extended there until late Tuesday.
Also under a flood warning through Tuesday evening was the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry.
By Monday evening, meteorologists said the Potomac River was expected to crest there more than two feet above flood stage. When it’s that high, much of the old federal armory site in Harpers Ferry is flooded.
Wednesday was the projected end date for a flood warning along the Potomac River at Shepherdstown.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time for the watershed to recover,” Lee explained.
As of Sunday, the Potomac River at Shepherdstown was as follows: “Rise above flood stage by overnight Sunday and crest near 21.7 feet by early Tuesday morning.”
At 22 feet at that location, the National Weather Service reported water approaches homes on the West Virginia side of the river near Shepherdstown.
Along the Potomac River at Paw Paw in Morgan County, minor flooding was in the forecast with a crest expected at 27.3 feet by Monday morning — a couple of feet above flood stage. That would be high enough to cover an access road on the West Virginia side.
The South Branch of the Potomac River near Springfield in Hampshire County was already above flood stage as of Sunday morning with “moderate” flooding in the forecast. By Sunday night, the river was expected to reach 19.6 feet which would be four feet above flood stage.
Also under a flood warning was Opequon Creek near Martinsburg which was forecasted to crest at 11.6 feet, more than a foot above flood stage, before Monday morning.
These projections were current as of Sunday afternoon, June 3.
The latest maps are HERE.
“We are expecting a drying period here starting Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,” Lee said. “There are still chances of showers in the afternoon every day.”