PARKERSBURG – Heavy rains pounded the Parkersburg area Monday afternoon, causing a wide range of problems and concerns for emergency crews.
Heavy rains hit the area around 3:30 p.m. and continued for about 45 minutes.
An exact amount of rainfall was not available from the National Weather Service in Charleston because of equipment being down, said Andrew Beavers, meteorologist.
Beavers said there was nothing out of the ordinary about the storm.
”It was just an old-fashion thunderstorm,” he said. ”It happens around this time of year with the heat, humidity and unstable atmosphere. Thunderstorms can pop up at any point. It is nothing unusual.”
Emergency radio traffic reported numerous trees down around the area, many snagging powerlines.
One report had a tree on fire at 19th Street and Pond Run in Vienna because of powerlines on the tree.
Requests went out for chainsaws and the help of professional tree service businesses with the equipment able to handle the size of some of the trees that were down.
Other reports in Wood County indicated areas of high water and vehicles being submerged.
Numerous auto accidents were reported.
Mon Power reported outages in the area between Vienna and Williamstown and the area toward Ritchie County.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, 2,938 customers were without power service, including about 1,138 in Parkersburg and 1,507 in Vienna. About 120 customers were affected in Walker, 95 in Waverly and 70 in Williamstown. By 7 p.m., about half of those without power had their power restored.
The estimated time for repairs reported by Mon Power was 11 p.m. Monday, according to the company’s website.
Local officials reported a variety of problems and instances.
Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said few problems were reported around town. Power outages were reported at the Bureau of the Public Debt and the Wood County Justice Center, the mayor said.
”We didn’t have any major damage that was reported to me,” Newell said.
Vienna was hit harder.
“That’s the hardest rain I’ve ever seen,” Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp said.
The city’s storm drains couldn’t keep up with the flow, causing water to cover the roads at intersections.
“We got more water than we know what to do with,” Rapp said.
Electrical service went out at the height of the storm on Grand Central Avenue, Rapp said. He estimated 1,300 customers had lost power.
Also, numerous trees fell because of the storm, Rapp said.
“We got trees down all over the place,” Rapp said.
One of those trees fell in Jackson Memorial Park, Rapp said.
“The storm split the tree down the middle and a raccoon must have fallen when it did. It’s back right leg was stuck in a split in the tree. We had a heck of a time rescuing that little guy,” Rapp said.
Vienna Volunteer Fire Department and the game warden were called to assist in the rescue, Rapp said.
It took almost an hour to free the raccoon’s leg from the ruined tree, Rapp said. The animal was deemed healthy, although tired, and released into Jackson Memorial Park again, Rapp said.
All municipal crews responded during the storm across the city, to this and other situations, Rapp said.
Beavers said there will be a slight chance of rain today and an increasing chance throughout the rest of the week.
There is a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms today and into tonight. It will be mostly sunny, with a high near 92. On Wednesday, there will be another chance of a thunderstorm coming to the area.
”It could move in and out and be clear by 7 p.m.,” Beavers said.
Beavers said the chance for rain will increase on Thursday (50 percent) and into Friday (60 percent).
”By Friday, it should pick up,” he said.
The chance for rain, 40 percent, continues through Sunday.
”There will be on and off thunderstorms throughout the week,” Beavers said.