Mid-Ohio Valley hit by winter storm
PARKERSBURG — Less than two full weeks into 2018, the Mid-Ohio Valley is bracing for another winter storm.
In West Virginia, dispatchers at the Wood County Telecommunications Center said Friday roads reported as water covered earlier in the day are now clear of water or are expected to be clear soon.
A dispatch supervisor said as of 9 p.m. Friday there were no flooded roads in Wood County. However, he said, area roads were becoming very slick, making driving hazardous. As of 9:15 p.m., he said, the pace was picking up.
“We’re starting to get more reports of accidents as the snow and sleet falls,” the dispatcher said.
In Washington County, Sheriff Larry Mincks said the county is under a level 1 snow emergency. He said 19 roads were blocked by high water at 9:15 p.m.
“We are at a Level 1 snow emergency with slippery roads,” he said. “I expect we’ll be at level 2 before long.”
West Virginia was under a winter storm advisory as of 9:30 p.m. Friday and Ohio was under a winter storm warning. Both are in effect until 10 a.m. today.
According to the National Weather Service forecast for Ohio, there will be a brief period of freezing rain and sleet, before a transition to all snow. Total snow and sleet accumulations of 4 to 6 inches are possible, with ice accumulations of up to one tenth of an inch. A flash freeze is possible overnight into this morning as temperatures plummet.
According to the National Weather Service forecast for West Virginia, the snow and sleet were to turn to snow after midnight. Lows will be 17 with north winds at 11 to 14 mph with gusts up to 26 mph.
Total accumulation is excepted to be two to four inches.
Today there is a chance of showers before 8 a.m. It will be mostly cloudy with a high near 20 and north winds eight to 10 mph with gusts of 21 mph.
For tonight it will be mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly clear, with a low around 6. Northwest wind around 6 mph becoming calm after midnight. Sunday is expected to be clear with a high near 21 with a 30 percent chance of precipitation.
Earlier in the day there were several reports of high water and a number of accidents.
Williamstown Police Chief Shawn Graham said the Williamstown Boat Ramp flooded suddenly Friday morning, leaving officers scrambling to find the owners of a pickup truck that was parked on the ramp.
“We’d checked it just a little earlier and it was fine,” he said. “The water came up fast.”
Graham said around 9:30 a.m., officers were working to shut down the boat ramp as the waters rose, and were considering towing the vehicle. A friend managed to contact the owners who came back to shore.
“These people were still out on the river,” Graham said. “You should certainly be aware that flooding can be an issue before you go out on the water.”
Graham said the two boaters managed to get both their truck and boat out of the water and off the boat ramp. The people were not cited, Graham said.
“We were just trying to get them out of there,” he said.
Around 11:30 a.m. Friday, the Wood County 911 center announced through its Facebook page multiple road closures and warned drivers to avoid flooded areas.
“With the recent rain we would like to remind all our citizens that water across roadways can be much higher than it appears and it only takes a little to be very dangerous,” the E911 center posted.
The flooded roads included Core Road at 36th Street, Old Saint Marys Pike, Walker Road and Waverly Road.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office reported a dozen road closures in the county by 10:30 a.m. Friday, scattered across the county. Ohio 618 at Bender Road and Bender Road a mile off Ohio 7 closed just after 3 a.m. An hour later, Stanleyville Narrows at Nichols Road and Oxbow Road at St. Andrews Boulevard closed, followed shortly afterward by Dunbarger Road at Ohio 821 and Veto Road at mile 14. Main Street in Macksburg closed just before 6 a.m., and between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. the 200 block Hills Bridge Road, Ohio 26 between Marietta and Ohio 260, Ohio 145 near Lower Salem, and Ohio 821 between Lower Salem and Ohio 530 all became impassable. At 10:30 a.m., Ohio 26 at mile 7 closed.