Officials keeping an eye on skies, roads
Local and state officials were watching the weather forecast closely Tuesday for any signs of heightened flood risk to an area where rain, sodden ground and lingering piles of snow could interfere with drainage.
The National Weather Service was expecting less than a tenth of an inch of rain after 3 a.m. Wednesday followed by showers later in the morning and additional totals of one-half to three quarters of an inch by nightfall. Isolated showers are considered possible until midnight. Thursday’s forecast calls for mostly clear skies and highs of 47.
The Weather Service issued a flood watch for the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. Forecasters said melting snow and heavy rainfall could cause small streams to overflow Wednesday. Rivers may be vulnerable to flooding Wednesday night into Thursday.
No flood watch has been issued for the northern Shenandoah Valley, but Ken Slack, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Transportation, said watch crews in the Edinburg office have been assigned to keep an eye on road conditions throughout the night and Wednesday.
“The crew comes in after hours, and they will stay at area headquarters, so they’ll be ready for calls,” Slack said. “Sometimes they get a heads up letting us know if a road is underwater.”
Warren County Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie said the Morgan Ford Bridge was closed Tuesday as the Shenandoah River rose.
Mabie said snow piles lingering from the blizzard could lead to pools of water forming on roads.
“We’re still not back to a normal drainage situation with ditches because they’re all full of snow,” Mabie said.
Shenandaoh County Fire Chief Gary Yew said he did not expect major flooding, although he warned of scattered stretches of road where travel could be hazardous.
“There’ll definitely be some ponding,” Yew said. “There could be some streams that rise and cover low water bridges, and motorists need to be aware of it.”
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org