Justice declares state of emergency as heavy rain looms
ELKINS — The entire state of West Virginia will get a taste of the remnants of Tropical Depression Ida when the system makes its way through the Mountain State today.
As a result, Gov. Jim Justice declared a State of Emergency for all 55 counties in the state on Tuesday evening.
“All West Virginians need to absolutely be ready for the potential impact Ida may bring to our state,” Justice said. “West Virginians should pay extra close attention to emergency officials and media outlets. And please: do not endanger yourselves, your loved ones, or our first responders by trying to drive through flood waters.”
Severe storms throughout most of the day are expected to cause flooding in many areas of the state. The National Weather Service, which has issued a flash flood warning for all of West Virginia, projects a nearby cold front coupled with the arrival of Ida will cause periods of moderate to heavy rain.
Rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are expected in most areas of the state, with up to 6 inches possible at some locations. Several inches of rainfall over the past two weeks in West Virginia has primed the soil and rivers for potential flooding.
The National Weather Service predicts up to 2 inches of rain will fall in Elkins and the surrounding areas Wednesday.
Thunderstorms are also expected to produce gusty winds that may exceed 30 miles per hour on Wednesday. The Eastern Panhandle also has the threat of a potential tornado.
A State of Emergency allows state agencies to coordinate ahead of a possible weather event, including by pre-positioning personnel, vehicles, equipment and other assets.
“Gov. Justice has initially authorized State Active Duty status for up to 60 Guardsmen, and we are ready to activate as many as is needed should conditions deteriorate rapidly,” said Lt. Col. “Wally” Hatfield, Director of Operations with the West Virginia National Guard. “Our top priority is always the safety and survival of our fellow West Virginians, and we will do everything we can to meet any challenge Mother Nature might throw at us in the next 72 to 96 hours.”
Today’s unwanted weather is expected to give way to partly sunny day skies on Thursday with the high temperatures projected to be around 73 degrees.