Flooding covers area roads
Emergency management officials are monitoring streams throughout Upshur and Randolph counties after receiving reports that several roads were being affected by rising water.
In Randolph County, the following roads were closed Thursday due to flooding – Georgetown Road between Elkins and Beverly, Ferguson Road in Crystal Springs and Montrose, East Dailey Road, Back Road in Mill Creek and Dry Branch Road, according the Randolph County Office of Emergency’s Nixle alert service.
Randolph County OEM Director Jim Wise said he expected flooding to subside soon.
“Flooding’s going to start receding, so it’s minor and it’s not an amount that wasn’t expected,” Wise said Thursday afternoon.
Upshur County Office of Emergency Management Public Information Officer Jim Farrell said Slab Camp, Alton, Stony Run, Boy Scout Camp, Gould and Sago roadways have experienced “minor to intermediate problems.” He said the Buckhannon River is at 22 feet, but “appears to be tapering off.
“We’re at the action stage, which is 21 feet,” Farrell said. “We don’t think there is any immediate danger.”
The National Weather Service issued a special statement just after 10:30 a.m. Thursday, saying that runoff from Wednesday’s rains were expected to continue to affect Barbour, Lewis, Randolph, Upshur and Pocahontas counties through Thursday afternoon, at which point overflowing streams and creeks were expected to recede.
The statement also warned drivers not to drive their vehicles on roads that are covered in water.
“The water depth may be too great to allow your car to cross safely,” the statement cautioned. “Move to higher ground.”
Farrell said the runoff from rivers and streams is expected to continue until the ground freezes.
“Part of the problem is that there is still debris left over from Superstorm Sandy in these streams,” he said.
Upshur, Barbour, Randolph, Tucker and Pocahontas counties are also under a Winter Weather Advisory through 7 p.m. today.
The National Weather Service forecast calls for rain changing to snow and tapering to snow flurries by late this afternoon. Accumulations are anticipated up to 5 inches, and snow is expected to fall the heaviest through mid-afternoon today.
An advisory, which is less severe than a warning, means that the potential for hazardous situations exist.
“The advisory is telling people to pay attention and to get updates,” Farrell said.
Wise said he wasn’t too worried about the impact of the snowfall, since today’s highs will drop down to 15 or 16 degrees. Those frigid temperatures will ward off heavy, wet snow that can cause power outages.
“It’s going to be more of a light, fluffy snow,” Wise said.
Other areas of the state haven’t been as fortunate when it comes to keeping the lights on.
The storm system has knocked out electricity to nearly 7,200 customers across West Virginia, according to the Associated Press.
Appalachian Power reported Thursday afternoon that 6,756 customers were without power, nearly one-third of them in Raleigh County. More than 800 others were in Logan and Mercer counties.
FirstEnergy, meanwhile, said it had cut the number of outages down to about 430 by late afternoon.
Flood warnings were issued for the Cheat River in Preston County, the South Branch of the Potomac River in Hampshire County, and the Greenbrier River in Greenbrier, Monroe and Summers counties. However, only minor flooding has been reported, according to the Associated Press.
Senior Staff Writer Katie Kuba contributed to this report.