WHEELING, W.Va. — Citizens in numerous areas of Ohio County, including Wheeling neighborhoods, are picking up the pieces following flash flooding over the weekend.
Ohio County Emergency Management Agency Director Lou Vargo told MetroNews on Monday that nearly three inches of rain fell in just a couple of hours on Saturday, flooding ‘several hundred’ homes.
“We started having flooding almost immediately, probably within a half-hour of the storm hitting us,” Vargo said. “We had our streets, sewers overflowing. Just our hillsides, debris came down the runs and clogged everything up.”
Areas in Ohio County hardest hit by the high waters and strong winds include the Wheeling areas of Woodsdale and Elm Grove along with the Village of Valley Grove and Town of Triadelphia.
Houses along parts of National Road in Wheeling, Cadillac Avenue in Elm Grove, Sheridan and Midway streets in Triadelphia, and various side streets in Wheeling received basement and first-floor flooding on Saturday evening.
Officials said those streets were also temporarily closed and covered with mud, trees, and rocks when waters receded on Sunday.
“From the 1100 block to the 1300 block of National Road, rocks were everywhere, tree branches and debris. The Division of Highways was called in to clean that up and they were working on that all day yesterday (Sunday), “Philip Stahl, the Public Information Officer for the Wheeling Police and Fire Departments told MetroNews.
Flooding on National Road. Portion closed down because of debris. pic.twitter.com/0nw1PSAUba
— Philip Stahl (@PhilipStahlPIO) March 29, 2020
According to officials, runoff from hillsides in the area and backup of sewers were the main culprits of flooding, not creek tributaries. The area received heavy showers Saturday afternoon during various weather warnings before a second heavy cell hit in the evening.
Vargo said the American Red Cross and Community Lutheran Partners, Inc. of Wheeling are assisting in recovery for the area with 300 emergency clean-up kits. The kits include buckets, mops, gloves, trash bags, wipes, and more to assist residents affected. Anyone still needing a kit is asked to call 304-234-3695.
The West Virginia National Guard has two liaison officers in the area on Monday to coordinate efforts in mud and debris removal efforts. The City of Wheeling is asking residents to put any debris and damage in front of their residence for the city sanitation department and National Guard to pick up.
Stahl said he hopes the mostly dry forecast for the area this week holds up so the cleanup goes smoothly.
“It was obviously a stressful time with a pandemic going on mixed in with a flash flood. People are trying to clean out their houses who were effected and trying to stay home at the same time due to the virus,” he said.
“It’s a challenging time and we will all try to work through this together.”
Nearly 1,000 power outages remain in the Ohio and Marshall county areas due to the heavy rains and strong winds over the weekend, according to the AEP outage map.
Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott provided this update on COVID-19 and the flooding on Monday evening:
— Mayor Glenn Elliott (@MayorWheeling) March 30, 2020