POINT PLEASANT — For once, coming up short was a good thing.
Weekend flooding was not nearly as severe as anticipated with updated river crest predictions at 41 feet today (Tuesday), just one foot above flood stage. The river crest at R.C. Byrd Locks and Dam was expected to crest at 46.4 feet today (Tuesday), not even reaching flood stage which is 50 feet.
Monday morning the Mason County Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management was reporting only eight roads with water reported on them. Those roads were: New Haven – Gun Club Road. Clifton – Shelter Land, Recreation Lane. Leon – Waterloo Smith Church Road. Henderson – Salt Creek Road. Gallipolis Ferry – Pleasant Ridge Road. Ashton – Mason Eighty Road. Glenwood – Old River Road (Hannan Trace Side) and Boggs Road.
Mason County EMA reported, given the crest which was only expected to be around a foot higher than flood stage, if that held true, it wasn’t believed more roads, other than the ones listed above, would flood.
This lower than antcipated crest was also met with a sign of relief in neighboring Meigs County, Ohio.
Projections last week had the county set to see its worst flooding in decades, but as the weekend progressed without the expected rain fall to the north those river levels fell from 54.1 feet in Pomeroy to a projected crest of 43.5 feet. At Racine, the projected Tuesday crest went from 50.5 feet to 40.2 feet. At Belleville, the projected crest went from 46 feet to a projected 35.5 feet.
While the river will soon be receding, local businesses and agencies were ready just in case. Meigs EMA had established an emergency shelter and put the Emergency Operations Center into operation on Saturday. Businesses along Main Street had moved to higher ground and residents along the river prepared their homes.
On Monday, many had begun the process of moving back in, this time without having to clear layers of mud.
Over the weekend, both the Meigs County Commissioners and the Governor’s Office issued emergency disaster declarations for Meigs County. In the case of the Governor’s Office the declaration was for 17 counties in Southeast Ohio.
“The best resource we have in Meigs County is our people,” Commissioner Randy Smith said on Saturday after the declaration was issued. “As we’ve witnessed yet again, our communities come together to help one another, we want to make sure we are doing everything we can at the local governmental level to help. Enacting a local disaster declaration is one way we can do that. It allows us to move within our resources in a way we couldn’t otherwise and it helps to get the attention of state and federal level officials.”
A local disaster declaration frees up the resources of the county to assist in flood recovery efforts.
An emergency declaration at the state level allows the governor to use state resources, including activating the National Guard, to help local officials keep Ohioans safe. It does the same on the county level, only with county resources. The two combined will bring more resources to Meigs County for assistance.
Anyone interested in making monetary donations for flood relief can drop checks off, or mail them to the Meigs County Auditors Office, 100 East Second Street, Pomeroy Ohio 45769. Please write Flood Donations in the memo line. If you would like to donate cleaning supplies you are asked to call 740-992-4732.
The Meigs County EMA will continue to conduct damage assessments for anyone who has experience home or business damage associated with the flooding last week or who experiences any damage with the current flooding. If you have had any damage, please contact the Meigs County Emergency Management Agency at 740-992-4541 extension 1 or 2.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing. Sarah Hawley is managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.