HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -After a tumultuous 2021 with wild weather frequently close by if not here at home, the new year is getting off to a boisterous start. Overnight heavy rains have “trained” through the southern Coalfield region leaving behind swollen streams and high water in spots. So far the heaviest rains have stayed well south of the I-64 zone.
In Mingo County, dispatchers tell Newschannel 3 (as of 9:45am) that Route 49 in Matewan is impassable at O’Brien Edition where two and a half feet of water has collected. Meanwhile in Logan County the problem has been strong winds that knocked out power in the Harts Creek-Chapmanville area after a potent thunderstorm passed in the pre-dawn.
Across the Tug and Levisa Forks into the Bluegrass, Pike and Floyd County dispatchers report “widespread” high water after a train of storms (one storm following another in succession) has led to flash flooding. In the town of Garrett several homes have taken on water and a few car rescues were engineered. Dispatchers say Bucks Branch is impassable as of 9:45 AM.
In time today the heavy rain zone will shift north with the prospects of widespread high water a concern. The chain of events will start with street flooding as storm drains clog when more than an inch of rain falls, with small streams too likely to overflow in spots. For this reason the National Weather Service put out a Flood Watch as early as Thursday to alert of what was to come!
Since heavy rains will fall at a large scale from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati a major rise on the Ohio River is likely. The latest hydrograph from the National Weather Service Ohio River Forecast Center indicated a crest early this week (Monday-Tuesday) that could approach but come up short of flood stage from Point Pleasant in the Byrd Pool of the river downstream thru Huntington-Ashland in the Greenup pool and a day later downstream through the Meldahl pool past Portsmouth and Vanceburg.
That said computer crest forecasts are useful for pre-planning but notoriously inaccurate until the last drop of rain falls. So interests along the mother river should stay up to date with revisions on how high the Ohio will rise. After all our traditional flood season on the Ohio is late February-early March but as we all know the weather is anything but traditional and normal in this ever changing climate we live in.
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