MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Marshall County authorities spent much of Thursday cleaning up a mess and bracing for another one. Heavy rains sent a deluge of rain through several communities Wednesday evening. The heavy rainfall was more than many municipal storm drains could handle and coupled with debris, the drains started to back up in those places which typically endure flooding during periods of heavy downpour.
“We had a lot of runoff,” said Tom Hart, Emergency Management Director for Marshall County. “It wasn’t really creek flooding, it was more runoff and the culverts and ditches were plugged up. It sent water down the middle of the roadway on 22nd Street and 21st Street in McMechen.”
About a dozen homes in McMechen had minor to moderate high water. It’s the same area which was declared a federal disaster area in 2017 after a similar flash flood. There were similar problems in the communities of Benwood, Glen Dale, and Moundsville.
“Moundsville Volunteer Fire Department had to do some water rescues,” said Hart.
Crews helped get four people and their pet out of a home surrounded by water. National Weather Service officials in Charleston also reported high water issues in Wetzel and Tyler Counties. Officials
say on both sides of the Ohio River, there is great potential for flooding in the next 12 to 24 hours.
Hart worried it’s not over for his county yet.
“We’re under the gun for more severe weather,” he said. “That’s a real concern we have right now.”
Simone Lewis, Meteorologist with the Charleston Weather Bureau said Hart was right to be concerned.
“We’re pretty saturated and if they receive about an inch of precipitation in a short period of time, say one to three hours, they could have flash flooding issues,” Lewis said.
The same forecast is in place for much of West Virginia today and almost the entire state remained under a flash flood watch through Thursday night.
“Showers and storms are pretty random where they’re going to occur, but one good thing is the storms have been able to move off in a timely fashion and we’ve had some periods of several hours between storms,” Lewis said.
By Friday, Lewis anticipated a change in the weather pattern for West Virginia which could bring drier conditions by the weekend.