While the biggest threat was Friday, flooding remains a possibility in much of Wests Virginia through late Sunday.
The National Weather Service in Charleston issued a flood watch through 10 p.m. Sunday.
“[Friday] is mostly going to be the flash-flood threat,” Levi Cornett, an operational meteorologist with the Weather Service, said Friday. “Especially only having two days to dry out, it wasn’t really enough. So [we’re] monitoring that.”
Afternoon showers on Saturday and Sunday could lead to flooding either day, if they’re intense, Cornett said.
The flood watch encompasses the Weather Service’s entire county warning area, including all or parts of 44 of West Virginia’s 55 counties.
Northern West Virginia, near Clarksburg, got 1-to-2 inches of rain overnight, Cornett said, so meteorologists will be monitoring the area for possible flooding.
“We’re going to be watching along the Ohio River Valley, where it was forecast that these might be more intense, and definitely in the southern coalfield counties, where it’s been pretty intense for the past couple of weeks with anything that’s popped up,” he said.
A “state of preparedness” issued by the Kanawha County Commission on Thursday ahead of the severe weather has been extended through the weekend because of the flood watch.
The ground is already saturated from recent rains, which could lead to trees or power poles falling, causing power outages, the county said in a news release.
The county advised residents to prepare for potential power outages by:
- Taking inventory of items that rely on electricity and having a plan if the power goes out.
- Having a backup storage plan for medication that requires refrigeration.
- Charging mobile devices.
- Signing up for local alerts and warning systems.
- Having flashlights and extra batteries readily available.
The county’s emergency operations center will be on standby over the weekend, Emergency Manager C.W. Sigman said.
In preparation for potential heavy rainfall, Sigman said county officials will be in contact with water rescue agencies across the county.
“We don’t know where it’s going to happen,” Sigman said of the flooding. “I don’t know that it will be a widespread, countywide event, that everybody’s getting hammered. What I’m getting out of it is [that] localized downpours is our problem.
“Wherever it sets up, we can have some flash flooding in that immediate area. It probably won’t affect the whole county, but we don’t know where it’s going to be, so we’ll give everybody a heads-up.”
Sigman said officials also will designate a radio frequency where the emergency operations center can be reached without tying up the dispatch channel. He said that, despite an active summer with lots of rainfall, most of the county’s flooding incidents have been limited to water-covered roads.
“Generally, it’s just somebody who drives across a road they shouldn’t drive across and gets stranded, and a water rescue team has to wade out and get them,” Sigman said.
Sigman said residents should pay attention to the weather and the potential for flooding. Sometimes, he said, people get complacent after living through storms and high water.
“We need to pay attention to it,” he said. “The Weather Service is not giving us a warning for no reason. I think we need to pay attention when we’re driving and they see high water and avoid crossing.
“Even though you might not get hurt, even though your car might survive it, think of all those electronics in your car. That water is not going to be good for it, under your seat and in your dash and places like that. I think we need to pay attention.”