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No break in the weather: More rain in forecast

by Alecia Sirk


(Tuesday, June 30) Although Harrison County was spared the major flooding that occurred in neighboring counties and throughout the state, there were almost as many minor emergencies Monday as there was rain.

By Monday afternoon, Harrison was numbered among 24 counties declared by Gov. Cecil Underwood to be in a state of emergency. Julie Caldwell, deputy press secretary from the Governor's Press Office, said that Harrison County had been added to the list because of flooding along the West Fork River, power outages and roads that were temporarily closed due to downed trees.

"We wanted to be sure the county would be covered since more rain and possible flooding is expected," Caldwell said.

Ken Batty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston said that flash flood watches were extended through Monday night, and that rain would continue through Tuesday.

"The extent and how much, no one really knows," he said. "It can rain one inch on one side of the mountain and nothing on the other."

In Clarksburg, the West Fork River crested at just over 16 feet Monday afternoon, about 4 feet above flood stage, said Bob Yue, hydraulic engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers.

With the exception of runoff backing up water into basements, flooding seemed to be contained to outlying areas, according to Emergency Services reports.

The Harrison County Bureau of Emergency Services reported flooding along State Route 270 by South Harrison High School going toward Lost Creek, Brushy Fork Road near the intersection with Coplin Run and Laurel Park road between Laurel Park and Laurel Valley. At 5 p.m., the bureau still did not have updated conditions on those roads.

Allen Staggers, a communications specialist with Allegheny Power, said that areas in Harrison County still without power Monday included Meadowbrook Road, Juniper Lane, Summit Park, Marshville, Indian Fork and Isaac's Creek.

Staggers said power was knocked out by flooding on Route 23 in West Union and Meathouse Fork.

Don Molter, Bell Atlantic area manager, said there were some isolated areas in Harrison County Monday that were still without phone service. Molter said that Doddridge, Lewis and Gilmer counties had more phone outages than Harrison.

"Throughout the state we've been hit pretty hard," Molter said. "Primarily because of high water and lack of electricity.

"We've had more than 2,000 customer orders for the northern part of the state alone," he said.

"We have work crews from southern West Virginia and western Maryland trying to get us cleaned up and our customers restored as fast as possible," Molter said.

Chief Mike Gallo of the Reynoldsville Fire Department said his crews had come to the aid of a woman trapped in a vehicle in the water. The woman was helped out of the vehicle and was able to walk out on her own, Gallo said.

Fourteen firemen worked about four hours starting at 10 p.m. Sunday pumping out basements in the Wilsonburg and Gregory's Run area, Gallo said. The highway was temporarily shut off between County Route 11 between the Pantry Store in Wilsonburg and Wilsonburg Elementary, he said.

Lori Anderson, assistant director of personnel for the Doddridge County Emergency Squad, said that Doddridge County had a rough night.

"There was a lot of flooding in the outlying areas. Waters were higher than in the 1985 flood," she said. Middle Island Creek, which caused the flooding there, crested at 11:15 a.m., she said.

At last count, Anderson said Monday afternoon, 24 homes had reported water damage. During the afternoon Monday, all of the residents brought to Red Cross shelters had returned to their homes, she said.

In Jane Lew, where Interstate 79 was closed to traffic north and south early Monday, the city park was under about 4 feet of water by afternoon, Larry Wilson, Jane Lew city recorder, said.

"But it always floods there," he said.

The Jane Lew water plant also had two feet of water in the facility, but Wilson said no one in the city was without water.

"Our machinery is water tight. It makes a mess, but it doesn't hurt anything," he said. "We're pretty good for at least a week without pumping water. We have two tanks and we purchase water from the City of Clarksburg."