RIPLEY, W.Va. — Cleanup is underway in the city of Ripley after a cloudburst unleashed way more water than the city’s drainage system could handle Thursday night. The area got close to four inches of rain in a brief period.
Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellenger tells MetroNews it happened so fast, they barely had time to react.
“Multiple high water rescues from both vehicles and homes,” the Sheriff explained.
“There was a fire call for service on Clay Lick Road just outside of Ripley and the fire personnel couldn’t get to the fire because of the high water,” he added.
The fire turned out to be an electrical problem and was more smoke than fire, but the fire department spent the rest of the might handling calls from stranded residents whose homes were suddenly islands. According to the sheriff, the worst areas were right in the Ripley area along Parkersburg Road, Evans, and Clay Lick Road. Even the downtown was inundated with water which had no where to drain for a period of time.
“The city of Ripley itself took a pretty serious pounding. There was flooding in areas where local residents had never seen water before,” Mellenger said.Listen to “Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellenger” on Spreaker.
City crews were on the job cleaning up mud and trying to remove debris from storm drains as soon as waters receded. According to Mellenger the biggest fear is what comes next.
“The problem we have here is the ground is so saturated it doesn’t take much of a storm cell to stall overhead and dump a period of showers and heavy rain to make this an emergency situation,” he said.
Evaluation of damage is underway. Mellenger didn’t have a firm count on the number of homes and businesses which took on water in Jackson County and in the Ripley community other than to say it was “multiple” dwellings.