CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Emergency officials in West Virginia continue to await the impact of what was originally Hurricane Florence. The storm which came ashore as a Category 1 storm was downgraded Friday night to a Tropical Storm and by the time it reaches West Virginia it is expected to be classified as a Tropical Depression.
The storm continues to pack a serious rain punch which should reach every county in West Virginia in some way.
“We are looking at the possibility of flash flooding, mainly in the areas where we expect the higher rainfall amounts,” said Meteorologist Dave Marsalek of the Charleston office of the National Weather Service. “But we’re going to watch all of the creeks, streams, and rivers. I believe at the very least we can expect some pretty good rises on all of these.”
The forecast for West Virginia calls for about 2 to 4 inches of rainfall concentrated over the West Virginia mountains and mainly on the eastern slopes and into the Eastern Panhandle. However, the rest of the Mountain State can expect a fair amount as well.
“The forecast is holding true. We’re still looking at max potential of 2 to 4, that’s generally going to run from southern West Virginia and up into the mountains,” Marsalek explained. “That’s primarily going to be on those eastern slopes.”
The storm is moving faster now and shouldn’t linger for too long over West Virginia. Four straight days of fairly dry and sunny weather have also allowed for swollen waters from last weekend to recede.
“Anytime we can get a few days to allows those waters to get the flows and levels down that’s going to be a good thing when we’re getting set for a significant rain maker,” Marsalek explained.
The early arrival of Florence will be late Saturday night. Heavier rain will move into the state on Sunday morning and increase in intensity throughout the day as it travels north. Monday will see the heaviest rain and by Tuesday, Marsalek expected the system would be out of West Virginia.
The State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management along with the West Virginia National Guard remain in a state of preparedness as the storm nears.