The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 1, 2013

High water closes roads; winter weather returns

BECKLEY — Many areas in southern West Virginia saw up to 2 inches of rain Wednesday, which caused flooding Thursday as runoff made its way into main stream rivers.

High water caused multiple bridge and road closures Thursday afternoon in Fayette, Greenbrier, Summers, Raleigh and Wyoming counties.

Roads or bridges shut down included Paint Creek Road, Stone House Road, Fort Spring Pike, Lick Creek, Island Creek, C&O Dam Road, Sullivan Road and Glen Rogers Road, according to information supplied by the state Department of Transportation.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Johnny Vass with the Division of Highways in Beckley said water was down, but road closures were still in place.

He said in some places experiencing high water, such as Batoff Mountain and W.Va. 3 in White Oak, roadways and bridges were passable, but warning signs were still up to alert drivers of the potential danger.

As for high water conditions today, Vass was uncertain whether the roads and bridges closed Thursday would reopen. Road conditions can be found online at www.wv511.org.

Vass said wv511.org is updated every four hours, but if weather conditions are severe, updates are posted every two hours.  

Ken Batty, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, said after the 2-inch rain event Wednesday, we are now back into winter mode.

Overnight into this morning, Batty said 1 to 3 inches of snow can be expected.

“It will be enough to cause travel delays.”

By afternoon, however, only flurries are expected. Water levels will start receding, Batty said, and the cold temperatures will freeze runoff.

Temperatures will not be above 20 degrees today, and Batty said travelers can expect to see a fresh crop of icicles on cliffsides.

Batty urges everyone to stay away from steep river banks, as they could be frozen or unstable. He said rapid currents are also a possibility.

The National Weather Service in Blacksburg is also calling for a few inches of snow, with wind gusts up to 35 mph through tonight.

Another round of accumulation may come over the weekend, but the totals are not expected to be high.

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