Area still recovering from storm, outages

PARKERSBURG – Power has been restored to some but not all area residents.

Outlying counties sustained the most outages after Wednesday night’s storm rolled through the Mid-Ohio Valley.

By 9 p.m. Thursday, the lights were out on 30 Wood, 42 Wirt, 330 Ritchie, 256 Pleasants, 636 Tyler and 884 Doddridge County homes, MonPower reported. AEP Ohio had about 187 households in Washington County and 1,427 in Morgan County in Ohio listed without electricity.

Meteorologist Joe Merchant with the National Weather Service in Charleston said most of the northern part of West Virginia has received three to four inches of rainfall since July 1.

Merchant said the flood stage for the Ohio River at Parkersburg is 36 feet and it is listed at around 27 feet. However, the normal level for the river this time of year in Parkersburg is 20 to 22 feet, he said.

The river level has steadied out since the rain stopped, he said.

Miranda Haught, director of the Mid-Ohio Valley Paws and the Jackson Dog Park in Vienna, said the response time to repair a part of fencing that was damaged Wednesday by the storm was phenomenal. She said parks director Norm Harris and the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department removed the tree and installed the damaged fence line.

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp said the volunteer fire department responded to about six calls after Wednesday night’s storm.

“At this point we’re within 100 (calls) of what we usually get in an entire year,” Rapp said. “Last night we were on the river and it’s amazing how high that river is.”

The rain is hindering residents from cutting the grass and the city is having issues with the grass going down storm drains, Rapp said.

In Washington County, Fearing Township resident Eric Robinson came home Wednesday evening to find firefighters battling a blaze at his family’s home at 140 Stanleyville Road. The Fearing Township Volunteer Fire Department was on the scene, but its response was slowed by high water, fire Chief Jeff Lauer said.

“Our firehouse was flash-flooded, so the guys couldn’t get to the trucks,” he said.

The Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office was called in to investigate the fire’s cause as a matter of procedure, but Lauer said there was nothing suspicious about it.

“Pine tree was (blown) over by the storm, took down the entry line,” he said.

Three-quarters of the house’s roof was consumed by the fire, and the interior sustained smoke and water damage, Lauer said.

Robinson and his family, who were not home at the time, were counting their blessings Thursday.

“God protected our family,” Robinson said.

“And He’ll graciously lead us through the next step,” his wife, Vicky, added.

Despite the delay caused by the water, the Robinsons were grateful to the firefighters from Fearing, as well as Devola and Salem, who provided mutual aid.

“Their quick response is what allowed us to save what we’re going to save,” Eric Robinson said.

The water that hit the fire department came after heavy rain fell on Duck Creek, whose levels had been receding prior to Wednesday’s storm, according to the National Weather Service.

“We had about two inches or a little more in about 20 minutes to a half hour,” said Calvin Becker, Washington County highway superintendent and a resident of the Stanleyville area.

A flash flood watch was in effect for Duck Creek until 8:45 p.m. Thursday.

Becker said the entire county felt the effects of the storm, but the most damage was done in a line stretching from Beverly to Grandview Township.

Wednesday’s rains had some county road crews out until early Thursday morning, and they were back on the job by 7 a.m., cutting up downed trees, repairing minor slips and clearing roads.

“All roads are open and passable except for (Cats Creek Road). That’s one lane,” Becker said.

A large amount of water in the creek that is the Lowell area road’s namesake led to a slip that has resulted in one lane being blocked. Workers will do core-boring next week to help determine the best method for repairing the slip, Becker said. He does not expect the situation to deteriorate further in the meantime.

The City of Marietta’s dock from Indian Acres broke loose and was carried down the Ohio River until it struck the middle pier of the Historic Harmar Bridge, said Chuck Swaney, with the nonprofit Historic Harmar Bridge Co. City workers wrapped pieces of the dock around the pier and tied it off, he said.

The bridge didn’t sustain any damage, Swaney said, adding that although the bridge has been damaged by flooding before, the original piers remain.

“Those have survived every flood and never been replaced,” he said.

The most recent rains caused the Ohio River to crest just below 27 feet Thursday evening in Marietta.