CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A much better forecast is ahead for West Virginia this week following the departure of Florence.
After Tuesday, sunny skies will return to parts of the Mountain State with daytime highs in the 80s, according to the forecast from the National Weather Service.
“It looks like, for the most part, the state is going to dodge a bullet with this one,” Mike Kistner, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Charleston told MetroNews on Monday morning.
“If we are going to see any issues, it’s most likely probably going to be across the Eastern Panhandle.”
Tropical Depression #Florence is continuing to traverse through the Ohio River Valley today and tomorrow before departing towards New England. Additional rainfall is anticipated this afternoon, especially for eastern #WVwx where Flash Flood Watches are already in effect. pic.twitter.com/bP6xZPQPfe
— NWS Charleston, WV (@NWSCharlestonWV) September 17, 2018
As of Monday, the following counties in West Virginia were under Flood Watches which were indications of potential for flooding:
Morgan, Berkeley, Jefferson, Pendleton, Hampshire, Hardy, Grant, Mineral, eastern Tucker, Mercer, Summers, Monroe and Greenbrier.
Two to four inches of rain or more were possible in those areas with less rain in the forecast elsewhere in West Virginia.
It could be Wednesday before all Flood Watches are lifted for a list of waterways in the Eastern Panhandle.
That list included the Cacapon River near Great Cacapon, Opequon Creek near Martinsburg, the Shenandoah River at Millville, the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry and Shepherdstown and the South Branch of the Potomac River near Springfield.
“It’s actually picked up speed and it’s moving fairly quickly across the area,” Kistner said of the storm system. “It’s not lingering for several days (in West Virginia) like it did across the southeast U.S.”
A week ago, the forecast was much more dire.
“The soil moistures are still fairly high from all the rainfall we had a week ago, so streams are still running quickly,” said Kistner, referencing the effects of heavy rain earlier this month from the remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon.
Rain totals from Gordon topped five inches in parts of northern West Virginia.
Such amounts were not out of the question in early Florence forecasts.
“Luckily, when the storm (Florence) got up to us, it decided to pick up speed and get moving because, with our terrain and the mountains, we can’t handle that type of rainfall at all,” Kistner said.
Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, the state’s adjutant general, said West Virginia would remain under a State of Preparedness until Florence was fully out of the Mountain State later this week.
Already, the West Virginia National Guard is involved in the Florence response in North Carolina and South Carolina.
“This is not something that gets fixed overnight,” Hoyer said of the extensive hurricane and flooding damage there during an appearance on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“This is something that takes years to recover from with the magnitude of what those folks are facing, both from a personal standpoint and from rebuilding communities and businesses.”