The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 4, 2014

National Weather Service issues flood watch for southern West Virginia

By Rick Kelley
Register-Herald Editor

BECKLEY — Weekend temperatures that nuzzled the 60s were just the right tonic for many people in southern West Virginia, at least those tired of watching the below-zero readings on the porch thermometer.

We should have been more careful what we wished for.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for most of southern West Virginia, as well as parts of Kentucky, Virginia and Ohio.

The forecast calls for the possibility of between 1 and 1.5 inches of rain beginning this evening and continuing through Wednesday morning. And since the ground is already saturated at the surface and frozen farther down, all this new rain has nowhere to go, meteorologists say.

The region received a taste of high water Monday, with roadways in Greenbrier County that run through tunnels at Harts Run and the Monroe Draft temporarily shut down around noon as a stream muscled its way out of its banks.

“The stream runs through the tunnels under the railroad along with the road,” said Joe Coughlin at the county’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management office.

In Raleigh County, C&O Dam Road in Daniels was closed around the 300 block due to high water, Raleigh County Emergency Operations Center dispatchers reported.

At least one vehicle had to be towed out of the current after stalling in high water that was covering the roadway at about 9 a.m., officials said.

Beaver Volunteer Fire Department crews helped the driver escape, and no injuries were reported. But that road remained closed for several hours, the West Virginia Department of Highways reported.

The National Weather Service warns that the low-pressure system bringing the new rain will join watery forces with melting snow, and also break up ice already formed on creeks and streams, creating the possibility of ice jams and damming on area rivers.

The high on Tuesday is expected to be 42 degrees, with an overnight low of just 37 degrees. On Wednesday, a high of 43 is expected as the low-pressure system glides over the area.

On Wednesday night, however, overnight temps will fall to 22 degrees, bringing us a chance of flurries in the early-morning hours on Thursday.

Thursday’s high will be about 32 degrees.

— Staff reporters Tina Alvey and Jessica Farrish contributed to this report.