Allegheny County affected by flooding

These last several days of bright sunshine, and peaceful skies and comfortable temperatures are a far cry from just a week ago. So much concern has gone out to White Sulphur Springs, Rainelle, and those areas to help people and property recover from the drastic flooding they experienced. Allegheny Mountain Radio spoke with Ryan Mutterspaugh, Allegheny County Director of Public Safety,

to learn how our neighbors to the south came through it all.

Mr. Mutterspaugh explained.

“The flooding here wasn’t county-wide, as far as what happened Thursday evening, or Friday. The damage was mainly on the west end of the county. West end and south, some minor up in the northern part towards Bath, and the eastern part towards Rockbridge, but the worst, the hardest hit area was around the Callahan Dunlap area.”

While things have returned close to what we might consider normal, I wondered how so much water fits into the narrow valleys, and mountain streams around these communities. The answer is, it doesn’t.

Even though these storms are coming a little bit spread between each other, they still seem to have an avalanche effect, almost’. Again, Ryan,

“They do. ‘Course, I mean the ground is saturated. There’s nowhere for the run off to go, so the side ditches and the culverts can’t handle a downpour like we saw Monday evening, and then of course became overrun, and started going across the roadways and what have you.”

Early in the week, our AMR, Morning Ride DJ, Caroline Sharp shared part of an article from the Charleston Gazette about the make-up of multiple thunderstorms. Weather scientists have determined some storms actually layer on top of, or together with each other so, a much larger amount of rain, the combination of several storms fall all at one time in one place.

I asked Bryan Mutterspaugh if there could have been anything to prepare residents of the heavily hit areas. Even when the weather reports are saying “Big Storms”, we don’t always take it to mean, many big storms all at once. He replied.

“With this particular event it all occurred so fast. One minute everything was fine, the next minute Dunlap Creek was flooding homes.

Yes, with some events you have a little more lead-time, they evolve a little more slowly, but with this one, it was a very fast occurring event, and I’ve really got to hand it to our volunteers. Fire and Rescue here locally, and those we called in to assist, did a fantastic job dealing with the incident, getting the people out that needed to get out.

So, much of our listening area was fortunate, and has rallied all week to support those who were not. By the time I spoke with Mr. Mutterspaugh, he said they were back to responding to call for assistance on a case by case basis. The initial response was strong and generous. He still encouraged anyone in need of cleaning supplies or bottled water to contact the Allegheny County Administrator’s office.

When I asked how those early volunteers had reached residents whose homes had been wrecked, or were short on supplies, he replied,

“We’ve had several churches in the area come out of the Southern Baptist Coalition,

has been out this week, going around the communities, neighborhoods affected, and just simply asking people, ‘Hey, do you need help? Is there anything we can do?”

So to all the volunteers, and emergency response personnel, thank you.


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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