ELKINS - The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for many counties in the area and officials are advising those who live near bodies of water to be cautious.
The flood watch was issued for Randolph, Barbour, Upshur, Pocahontas, Webster, Lewis and other surrounding counties and is in effect through noon today. A freezing rain advisory was issued for Randolph and Pocahontas counties until 6 a.m today.
"Due to ground saturation and an incoming storm system that has the potential to produce rainfall in the amounts of one to one and a half inches by (this) morning, there could be flooding in some areas," said Ken Batty, a metrologists for the NWS in Charleston, on Tuesday. "The recent snow cover could melt and add to the runoff."
The NWS forecast calls for a 100 percent chance of rain today with a 60 percent chance of snow in the evening hours and potentially into Thursday. High temperatures are to remain in the mid-to upper 30s with lows below 20 for most of the week.
Water levels are projected to peak tonight into Thursday after the rain begins to dissipate. As of press time, water level projections are to remain below the flooding stage for the Tygart River Valley, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Batty advised that residents be cognizant of the weather conditions in their area.
"We are advising people who live in the flood plain to take quick action," he said. "They should monitor water levels in their area regularly and heighten their weather awareness and be prepared should flooding conditions occur."
Batty said that, with the potential of more than an inch of rainfall in a six-to-12-hour window, there could be some problems.
"The good news is that there shouldn't be very much ice in the Tygart Valley area," Batty said. "Much of the snow was flushed out this weekend and we aren't seeing a deep snow cover from this storm. There are no deep freezes projected for the foreseeable future."
Emergency officials are keeping their eyes on the rising water.
"People in this area know how to prepare," said Jim Wise, director of the Randolph County Office of Emergency Management, on Tuesday. "We are doing our best to keep the public notified of any potential situations. Preparedness is the biggest thing in situations like this."
Wise said officials were busy Tuesday getting the latest information on water levels and coordinating flood plain precautions with the residents of those areas.
Contact Chad Clem by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.