High water brought unexpected consequences to many communities across the region this week, leaving officials on watch for forthcoming emergency flood situations.
Soaking rains caused part of a hillside to collapse in southern West Virginia and prompted a flood warning along the Ohio River.
As of Thursday afternoon, the West Virginia Department of Transportation’s Transportation Management Center reported 49 road closures in almost every highways district in the state. In Cabell County, 14 roads were reported closed.
The rockslide took place Wednesday night near West Williamson, West Virginia, covering old U.S. 52, knocking over power poles and causing a minor traffic accident. No serious injuries were reported.
Crews were trying to remove multiple boulders on Thursday, but a section of the road could be closed for two days, officials said.
The state Division of Highways reported weather-related school closings or delays in at least 15 counties.
“It is safe to say, we have our work cut out for us after the rains end,” Secretary of Transportation Byrd White said in a news release. “Our crews continue to monitor and react to the affects and have worked tirelessly to do what they can during the event but, we sure could use a break in the weather.”
Locally, the National Weather Service issued a warning for minor flooding along the Ohio River at Point Pleasant and Huntington, although both downtown areas are protected by floodwalls.
Some areas received about 1.5 inches of rain over already-saturated ground, and low-lying roads were affected.
A warning also advised those traveling Friday to be aware of icy spots due to temperature drops Thursday night.
In addition, storms prompted U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams to postpone a visit to Marshall University that had been scheduled for Thursday.
The Huntington district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took precautions, as well, activating its Emergency Operations Center due to the ongoing high-water event.
The corps plans to monitor several local communities’ levees and flood walls, including Point Pleasant in West Virginia; Ironton, Portsmouth and New Boston in Ohio; and Maysville, Kentucky.
In Ohio, many routes in Jackson County, Lawrence County and Scioto County remained closed as of Thursday afternoon, and Ohio Department of Transportation officials warned motorists to never cross water over a roadway with the reminder “turn around, don’t drown.”
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice also advised residents to remain attentive to weather conditions and follow instructions from emergency officials, should conditions worsen.