Community, Latest News, News

West Virginia prepares for heavy rain following Hurricane Ida

West Virginia is gearing up for heavy rainfall and flooding as the remnants of Hurricane Ida make their way into the region.

“It’s already a wet month,” Paul Walker, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, said. “That, on top of this rain, is what leaves us to have great concern for flooding problems.”

National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Leonardi said 4-to-6 inches of rainfall through Thursday is expected with potential bands of heavy rain in some areas. A flash-flood watch will be active from 2 a.m. Wednesday through 2 a.m. Thursday. 

Considerable river flooding is also possible along with flash flooding. According to the flood watch, streams in southwest Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia in the higher terrain of the Allegheny Mountains are at the highest risk for river flooding.

“This is going to be a fairly significant event and there could be some fairly significant flooding around Morgantown and surrounding areas,” Leonardi said.

sand bags star city
Star City public works took 50 pound sand bags around town Tuesday.

Those residing near waterways such as rivers and streams are encouraged to listen for flood warnings and get to higher ground when necessary. Leonardi said it is most important to avoid driving through flooded areas as this is a major cause of fatalities during flooding.

“We don’t want anyone driving through flooded roadways. Turn around. It’s not important enough to risk your life,” Leonardi said. “That’s the number one thing we tell people — turn around, don’t drown.”

A FEMA Region 3 spokesperson said it is important to check stocks and emergency supplies, stay in contact with family and neighbors, and stay up-to-date on changing weather conditions. If possible, check with neighbors who may need assistance if and when it is safe to do so.

Walker said one way to reduce the impacts of flood water damage is by using sandbags. Properly filled sandbags placed around a home can act as a preventative barrier.

Gov. Jim Justice spoke with FEMA 3 Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney and the State Emergency Management Director on Tuesday morning regarding the developing weather situation and how to prepare all 55 counties. FEMA Region 3’s West Virginia FEMA Integration Team is currently on the ground and is poised to respond and fully collaborate with state counterparts, including members of FEMA’s Incident Management Assistance Team.

“FEMA Region 3 is prepared to assist our state partners in the Mountain State with whatever they need,” the spokesperson said. “We are increasing staffing and have enhanced our monitoring of Tropical Depression Ida and her remnants as they enter our region.”

Hurricane Ida first hit as a Category 4 hurricane in Louisiana on Sunday, but has since weakened to a tropical storm as it travels north. According to the Associated Press, the storm is one of the most powerful to ever hit the U.S. and has resulted in the death of at least one person.

TWEET @DominionPostWV