Mid-Ohio Valley counties subject to flash flood watch

PARKERSBURG — Counties in the region were included in a flash flood watch Wednesday effective through this morning from the National Weather Service in Charleston.

They are Roane, Washington, Meigs, Gilmer, Pleasants, Jackson, Wood, Wirt, Tyler, Calhoun, Ritchie and Doddridge counties.

A flash flood watch means conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding, the Weather Service said. The watch was issued for most of West Virginia.

Wood County 911 has advised residents to monitor forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued and to stay away from swollen streams and creeks where the banks could collapse.

The Weather Service said brief bursts of heavy rain overnight Wednesday could cause creeks and streams that are already high to overflow their banks.

Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia on Wednesday issued a State of Preparedness in preparation of additional rain, covering all 55 counties. It will allow for the mobilization of resources to assist with preparation for any potential flooding or other storm-related damage, the governor said.

Justice also activated the State Emergency Operations Center and instructed all agencies “to exercise their appropriate authorities associated with this State of Preparedness.” The governor said he is ready to declare a State of Emergency for all areas where the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management deems necessary.

The operations center since Wednesday has operated at Enhanced Watch, the division said. Coordinating agencies will report to the center until there no longer is a threat.

The National Guard placed two elements of the Swift Water Rescue Team in Gassaway and Dunbar on Wednesday evening to provide rapid response capabilities in the event of rising flood waters. In addition, two liaison officer teams will be embedded with the swift water elements to provide assistance to the local counties that may be impacted.

Agencies will perform around-the-clock monitoring of water levels in rivers and streams and organize response to local areas, the division said.