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Mountwood Park sees flooding after heavy rainfall

The elevated cabin at Mountwood Park which serves as a museum for the area’s oil industry history was surrounded by flood waters after storms hit the park Sunday. Water did not get into the cabin. (Photo Provided)

VOLCANO — Mountwood Park experienced heavy flooding on Sunday.

Wood County Parks Director Jeremy Cross said they had what seemed like torrential rains on Sunday with two storm systems that came through the area, one right after the other.

“We had one of the largest floods I have ever seen out here in the last 10 years,” he said.

At one point, there were heavy intense rains for 45 minutes straight, Cross said. He had not contacted the weather service yet and did not know how much rainfall they received.

However, water was flowing across roadways, creeks were overflowing, water had gotten in the marina concession stand and debris was piled up along the boat dock area. Also, water surrounded, but did not get into the elevated cabin that serves as a museum to Volcano’s gas producing history. Some gravel work done around the cabin got washed away. Signs recently put up detailing the area’s oil history were also undamaged.

Parts of Mountwood Park flooded Sunday after heavy rains hit the park. Water ended up over roadways and creeks overflowed and debris ended up around the park’s lake. (Photo Provided)

Cross said the marina and boat launch will be closed until further notice as crews work to clean up the debris.

“It is going to take a lot of hand work with shovels and hoses,” he said. “It is going to be time consuming.”

They are bringing in a 30-yard dumpster to hold the cleaned up debris. Debris collected under bridges and walkways will also be cleaned out. Some park trash cans ended up in the lake and those will have to be removed.

Cross is hopeful the marina may be back up and running by the end of the week.

Although the marina area is closed, the rest of the park will remain open.

Debris collected around the marina at Mountwood Park after heavy rains hit Sunday causing flooding in the park. The marina is closed as crews work to clean up the debris. Officials hope to have the marina back open by the end of the week. (Photo Provided)

Cross said the park did luck out in the West Virginia Division of Highways cleaned out ditches along the park’s roadways a week prior.

“It could have been a lot worse,” he said.

Wood County Commission President Blair Couch, who serves on the Mountwood Park board, said they were lucky the rain hit on a Sunday, traditionally a slower day for the park.

“This is the second time this has happened in the last five or so years,” Couch said of the level of flooding in the park. “The rain fell and basically went down the hillsides and overloaded the creeks in the park.

“The way the park is situated, it is down in a valley with hills on both sides. When we get a hard, hard rain, all the water heads downhill towards the lake. The lake was originally built to take all of this water.”

Officials said the lake will eventually have to be dredged and cleaned out.

“There isn’t a lot of damage, but there is a lot of debris,” Couch said of the park.

County maintenance workers went out to lend a hand with the cleanup efforts. People who have traditionally used the trails, mountain bikes and ATV riders are out clearing debris from trails.

“Mountwood has a lot of potential,” Couch said “It is an attractive park and a lot of people come in from out-of-town to utilize it for mountain biking and fishing.

“We can’t have this continuously happen. It shuts the park down and causes a lot of strain to our system.”

Couch said the park may need to do some planning and work to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. Different officials, including the county engineer, will be looking at it to come up with some ideas and possible solutions.

“I don’t know what we are going to do, but we need to do something,” he said. “The discussion is now if this is going to be once every 500 year storm or is this something we need to plan on happening on a regular basis?

“What type of things can we do to soften the blow when it happens?”

Brett Dunlap can be reached at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com

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