Two area rivers expected to flood

By Staff reports
Chris Dorst
A car drives through water from a stream partially flooding Greenbrier Street in Milliken on Friday. Meteorologists issued a flood warning for Kanawha County and surrounding counties.
Kenny Kemp
Dutch Hollow Road near the Edens Fork exit of Interstate 77 was underwater after heavy rain fell Friday.
Kenny Kemp
Crews closed Dutch Hollow Road because of the flooding.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two area rivers had either exceeded or were expected to exceed their banks early Saturday, after heavy rains in the area for more than a day.The Elk River at Clay exceeded its flood stage of 18 feet; it was at 19.5 feet shortly after midnight, according to the National Weather Service. Some homes in the area flooded, according to the weather service.The flood warning from the National Weather Service for the Elk was canceled Saturday morning in Clay, but continued until Saturday evening for the Queen Shoals area in northern Kanawha County.At Queen Shoals, the Elk crested at 20.5 feet shortly before 10 a.m.  It is expected to peak in the Elkview area between noon and 1 p.m. and flooding in low-lying areas is still possible, although the worst of the danger may have passed, a Kanawha County Metro 911 dispatcher said."We'll see some encroachment in low-lying areas," the dispatcher said just after 11 a.m., "But everything should be dwindling down."Emergency responders rescued a woman who had driven through high water on the 700 block of Ferrell Road in Tornado just after 7 a.m. Saturday, according to a Metro 911 dispatcher. There were no injuries.Emergency responders also rescued someone from the water on Thorofare Road in Clendenin shortly after 6 a.m. Saturday, a dispatcher said.In the St. Albans area, the Coal River was expected to crest Saturday afternoon at 23.5 feet, below its 25-foot flood level, according to the weather service. No injuries or major property damage had been reported in Kanawha County, the dispatcher said, but the high water was widespread. "It's all over [the place] right now," he said.Also, the Tygart Valley River was expected to flood at Philippi and Belington late Saturday morning, as well as Opequon Creek near Martinsburg, according to the weather service.Heavy rainfall had already produced high water and closed roadways across Kanawha County and surrounding areas Friday.By Friday night, the National Weather Service had issued a flood warning or flood watch for most of the state, including Kanawha, Putnam and Boone counties.While the rain had mostly slowed by late Friday, sleet and scattered snow showers were expected overnight, with a 30 percent chance of snow projected for Saturday, according to the weather service.
The Kanawha County Office of Emergency Services sent out an alert at about 9:30 p.m. Friday, urging drivers to not attempt to drive through high water reported throughout the county.The Division of Highways ran out of "high water" signs before 7 p.m. Friday, according to a Metro 911 dispatcher.
In Chelyan, residents of Chelyan Village Apartments were trapped inside their building by rising water. Metro 911 said the water had nearly risen to the top of some of the apartments' front doors.Also Friday, emergency dispatchers reported a minor rockslide on Paint Creek Road in Kanawha County.Three people got their cars stuck in high water along West Dupont Avenue in Belle and along Second Avenue in Handley Friday evening, according to Metro 911.The 600 block of Campbells Creek Road also was flooded.DOH spokeswoman Carrie Bly said the high water began cutting off roads as early as noon, including Crab Creek Road in Mason County, Grove's Creek Road in Clay County and Dutch Hollow Road in Kanawha County.Those three roads were reopened to traffic by 3 p.m.
By Friday evening, high water was reported in Pratt, St. Albans, Cabin Creek, Marmet, Institute and other areas of Kanawha County.At about 9:30 p.m., Elk River Road at Cobb Avenue was shut down for several hours because of downed power lines.Camp Creek and Mud River roads in Boone County also were closed, according to the state Department of Transportation.Students in Clay and Roane counties were dismissed early Friday because of high water.Dunbar city officials canceled their Christmas Parade, scheduled for Friday evening, and Point Pleasant postponed its parade until 6 p.m. Monday. Dunbar's parade was rescheduled for 7 p.m. on Dec. 13.
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