Flooding threat closes Tyler, Wetzel schools

Harlan Drive in New Martinsville is flooded Monday. (Photo by Ed Parsons)

MIDDLEBOURNE — Wetzel and Tyler County schools dismissed early Monday as area residents dealt with five to six inches of rain in 48 hours.

Despite water clearing the roadways and floodwaters receding back into creeks and streams by evening, area residents then had to turn attentions to the Ohio River, which was expected to crest just above flood stage at Hannibal Lock and Dam by this afternoon.

There were several other cancellations because of the threat of river flooding. New Martinsville City Council postponed its regular council meeting. Instead, council members planned to aid residents and area businesses with flood preparation.

For the first time in more than a decade, the West Virginia Oil & Gas Festival had to cancel all of its Sistersville Park-related events Thursday-Saturday. Festival organizer Barbara Vincent said the event hadn’t been affected by flooding since 2004.

The Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce’s Entrepreneur Pitch was postponed until Sept. 24, due to the threat of river flooding. Wetzel County Grand Jury was postponed until Sept. 19, due to the same.

Wetzel and Tyler County Schools held classes on a regular schedule to begin Monday; however, Tyler County Schools then announced a dismissal for the elementary schools at 10 a.m., while Tyler Consolidated dismissed at 10:30 a.m. due to ongoing rainfall and subsequent rising waters.

Wetzel County Schools dismissed two hours early, at around 1 p.m.

By 3 p.m. Monday, 562 First Energy customers were still without electricity in Tyler County, while 31 were still without electricity in Wetzel County.

Tyler County Office of Emergency Management Director Tom Cooper said the intake on the Sistersville water plant is not working, so town officials are providing water customers with water from the tanks. He asked that Sistersville residents conserve water.

Wetzel OEM Director Steven Yoho said the OEM is receiving cleanup supplies from the state. There are already supplies at the OEM office, he said, and it should take around 72 hours to get what is ordered from the state.