OHIO VALLEY — Heavy weekend rains caused flash flooding around the region on Sunday and early Monday, with the attention now turning to the Ohio River which is projected to crest above flood stage this week along Meigs, Mason and Gallia Counties.
As of mid-day on Monday, water levels were below flood stage at Belleville Locks, Racine Locks, Point Pleasant and Robert C. Byrd Locks.
In Point Pleasant, the river level was at 39.06 feet mid-day Monday, with a crest projected late Tuesday night at 44 feet, which is moderate flood stage in Point Pleasant. Flood stage in Point Pleasant is 40 feet, with the river expected to exceed that level later on Monday evening. The last above flood stage crest in Point Pleasant was 43.75 feet on Feb. 14, 2020.
Impacts of flooding in the Point Pleasant area and in the Addison and Cheshire areas of Gallia County are as follows: At 40 feet, low-lying areas surrounding Point Pleasant and vicinity are flooded due to backwater. Also, the amphitheater lower pier is flooded and half way up the steps. Salt Creek Road, Hannan Trace Road, Huntington Road at Boggs Run Road and Mason Eighty Road start to flood; At 41 feet, Addison, Blaville Road in Ohio is flooded and low lying areas surrounding Point Pleasant and vicinity are flooded due to backwater; At 42 feet, Litle Kyger Road in Ohio floods; At 43 feet, Ohio State Route 7 at Kyger Creek and Addison is flooded.
At R.C. Byrd Lock south of Gallipolis, the river level was at 42.15 feet Monday afternoon with a crest projected at the 50 feet flood stage early Wednesday morning. At 41 feet, the Spruce Street Chickamauga Creek bridge is closed due to flooding of low areas around the bridge. At 49 feet, sections of Route 7 in Ohio at Teens Run, Chickamauga Creek, Kyger Creek, Clay Chapel, Clay School and just above Route 218 start to flood. Also, sections of Route 2 in West Virginia at Jerry’s Run, the old Coast Guard Station and Glenwood start to flood. At 50 feet, sections of Route 7 and portions of Gallipolis along the immediate river will flood. Also, bottom lands on the Ohio side of the river are flooded. The most recent crest above flood stage was at 51.52 feet n Feb. 20, 2018.
In West Virginia, prior to the arrival of heavy rains on Saturday, Gov. Jim Justice declared a State of Preparedness in advance of the flooding. This State of Preparedness covered the 50 West Virginia counties which were categorized by the National Weather Service as being under a Flood Watch or a Hazardous Weather Outlook — this included Mason County.
“While the rain is ending this morning – praise the Lord – numerous rivers, creeks, and streams are still raging with high water,” Gov. Justice said on Monday. “You’ve got to know, in our state, with our mountains, there significant flooding can happen very quickly. You’ve got to be on guard about that and know there can be loss of life. You’ve got to be very careful.”
The State Emergency Operations Center is also running “24/7 to coordinate the State’s response to this flooding,” according to a news release from Justice’s office on Monday.
The Governor’s State of Preparedness allows for the mobilization of resources to assist with preparation for any potential flooding or other storm-related damage.
At Belleville Lock, the Ohio River level was at 29.65 feet on Monday afternoon, with a projected crest is 36.2 feet around 1 a.m. on Wednesday. Flood stage is 35 feet at that location. At 34 feet on the Belleville gauge, water begins to cover State Route 124 at the mouth of Laucks Run, north of Portland. At 35 feet, Ohio State Route 124 is flooded north of Stiversville Road, at Rock Run, at Wells Run to Smith Ridge to Dewitts Run, at Forked Run, at Curtis Hollow Road and between Long Bottom and Shade River. Ohio State Route 124 near the Washington and Meigs County line is flooded.
The last river crest above flood stage at Belleville Lock was at 36.45 feet on Feb. 9, 2019.
At Racine Lock, the river level was 35.33 feet on Monday afternoon with a projected crest of 4.15 feet around 1 a.m. on Wednesday. Flood stage is 41 feet on the Racine gauge. At 41 feet, Ohio State Route 124 at Antiquity starts to flood and areas of Ravenswood are flooded upstream from Racine Lock. At 42 feet, State Route 124 is flooded in Minersville. The last above flood stage crest at the Racine Lock was at 42.40 feet on April 6, 2018.
No crest projection is listed for Pomeroy as of Monday afternoon. The gauge in Pomeroy is only updated when flooding is taking place. Flood stage in Pomeroy is 46 feet, at which time the parking lot is flooded and water begins to go onto Main Street in the downtown area. The most recent near flood stage crest in Pomeroy was at 45 feet on April 6, 2018.
Information on river levels, projections, previous crests and impacted areas from the National Weather Service Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. Additional information from the office of Gov. Jim Justice. Beth Sergent contributed to this article.
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.