MASON COUNTY — Like an unwanted guest who overstayed their welcome, the Ohio River has finally crested in Mason County and flood waters have begun to recede.
The crest started happening early Monday morning and continued throughout the afternoon. However, according to the Mason County Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, it may be this afternoon or evening (Tuesday) before flooded roads begin to clear. As of Monday afternoon, water was over 36 locations along roads in Mason County, according to Matt Gregg, deputy director of the county’s homeland security and emergency management agency.
During the flood event over the weekend and into Monday, local first responders were inundated with water rescue calls where drivers had attempted to drive through water only to have their vehicles stall and become stranded. Gregg said, fortunately, there were no injuries to people though there were so many water rescue calls, it was difficult to keep track of them all. Though first responders were busy throughout the county, when it came to water rescues, the Point Pleasant Volunteer Fire Department and Valley Volunteer Fire Department seemed to get the most water rescue calls, Gregg said. Point firefighters even rescued a family from a residence on Camden Avenue near Harmon Park in Point Pleasant who had become stranded by the flood waters, with one of their home’s foundation pillars shifting from the water.
Over the weekend, the Emergency Operations Center/call center was opened by the county’s division of homeland security and emergency management agency. Gregg explained the EOC is for non life-threatening emergencies which are related to flooding, allowing the public a phone number to call to get information on road closings and to get questions answered regarding property damage, where to find cleaning supplies, etc. The EOC helps divert those calls which are not life-threatening away from 911 dispatchers and still provide residents with timely information. That number to call is 304-675-8686. Today (Tuesday)- Friday, the EOC/call center is set to be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Gregg said, at this time, the call center hasn’t received any requests for cleaning supplies but suspected that would change as the water recedes. Gregg said Mason County Director of Emergency Services Dennis Zimmerman has been in contact with the American Red Cross about providing those cleaning supplies and doing visits to affected homes as requested to do an assessment of what is needed.
Gregg said it appears some of the hardest hit areas by the flooding were the Kingtown area in Point Pleasant, Apple Grove, Ashton and Glenwood. In the Kingtown area, some people have been unable to leave their homes since Friday, Gregg said, though emergency workers have been in touch with them and are monitoring the situation to help if requested. Zimmerman was also reportedly talking to CSX officials about using the rail service to gain access into areas which are impassable for vehicles along flooded roads should emergencies arise.
Right now, the focus for the the county homeland security and emergency management agency is to monitor the weather with a prediction of more rain in the forecast this week; to work with the Division of Highways to make sure once the roads are clear, they aren’t damaged/dangerous for motorists to travel; to work with anyone who had high water to make sure they have cleaning supplies and provide free evaluations on how to clean their homes after this flooding event.
As of press time, several roads remained closed throughout the county on Monday, including Route 2 from Point Pleasant to Glenwood and Rourt 62 from Leon to Point Pleasant. The county’s homeland security and emergency management agency were reporting the following road closures as of Monday evening:
Waterloo Smith Church Road, Leon; Debbie Road, Leon; Charleston Road / Eight Mile, Leon; Charleston Road / 10 Mile Creek , Leon; Charleston Road, Ambrosia; Kingtown, Point Pleasant; Krodel Park, Point Pleasant; Brownsville Area, Leon; Layne Street, New Haven; Gun Club Road; Locust Street, Henderson; Graham Station Road/Tombleson Run; Tombleson Run; Graham Station Road / West Creek Road; Spillman Lane; River Crest Lane; Shelter Lane; Recreation Lane; Three Mile Road; Jim Hill Road; Huntington Road / Mud Run Road; Mud Run Road; Arbuckle Road, Leon; Sliding Hill Creek Road (back side of Hartford); Huntington Road / Pleasant Ridge Road; Pleasant Ridge Road; Crab Creek Road; Jericho Road; Hannan Trace Road; Huntington Road / Glenwood; Huntington Road / Ashton Campground; Boggs Road; Black Oak Road; Chestnut Street, Henderson; Rt. 817 / Old Rt.35 Two Lane, Henderson; Salt Creek Road.
For up-to-date information on road closures and other weather-related and emergency events, following the county’s homeland security and emergency management agency on Facebook and Twitter. Or phone the call center at 304-675-8686.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.