OHIO VALLEY — With recent, steady rains (and more forecasted), water levels are predicted to continue to rise along the Ohio River and its tributaries over the next several days.
According to John Sikora, hydro-meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston W.Va., there is a complex storm system coming through the area which started Wednesday afternoon bringing subsequent waves of rainfall through the weekend.
“We are expecting anywhere from an inch to about an inch-and-a-half in the Point Pleasant area, but more depending on where the system sets up,” said Sikora. “Right now it looks like it’s going to move across the northern part of the state so the water is actually going to be coming down the Ohio River. We’re definitely going to see some significant rise on the Ohio River as well.”
As of Wednesday evening, a flood watch had been issued for the area lasting until Friday at 7 p.m. with the potential for extension through the weekend.
“It’s high right now, and it’s going to keep a slow fall throughout (Wednesday), and once we get this heavy rain in again it will start rising again, starting tomorrow night and Friday morning,” said Sikora.
Sikora explained the heavy ground saturation that is already present will increase the amount of rise and flooding in streams and waterways. All of the incoming precipitation will run off into the streams without being absorbed into the ground as much, increasing the chance for flooding.
The Ohio River at Point Pleasant, for now, is expected to peak at 43.3 feet Sunday night, just under moderate flood stage. Further south at the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam, the crest is predicted to peak at 48.5 feet, barely into action stage. Minor flooding stage at Byrd is 50 feet. The Racine locks is predicted to peak Sunday evening at 42.8 feet, just into minor flooding.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.