Unpredictable Storms Race Through The Allegheny Highlands
Marlinton, WV – April showers bring May flowers, but violent thunderstorms rolling through the Allegheny Highlands Wednesday night brought only a lot of water and a ton of debris to clean up. Pocahontas County Emergency Services Director Melvin Martin says this storm system was a puzzler.
“This storm kind of threw us all for a loop” says Martin, “and the weather service was absolutely no help. The storm that came through first off, we got tornado warnings, and it was coming very fast; I didn’t expect this much rain to come through, none of us did. I think what was happening as it was coming through more storms were forming right in the path of it. It was dumping more rain on the east side of the county.”
Martin says some of the river gauges in the county were giving questionable readings Thursday morning.
“The Minnihaha gauge was reading 2.16 [feet] all morning, which I knew that was wrong, especially when I came up here and it was in the field in Marlinton. It finally all of a sudden popped up to 8.9 feet at Minnehaha.”
Martin says as far as he knows, there were no tornado sightings in the county as the storms rolled through. Based on the data collected from the river gauges, he expected any flooding to be minimal. As for what’s next for the county, weather-wise, Martin says the National Weather Service in Charleston’s website is not being very helpful in that regard.
“I don’t think they even want to make any predictions” says Martin. “I tried pulling it up twice and it doesn’t want to come up. This isn’t the first time where the river gauges and the rain gauges and all that work, but the software crashes.”
Martin says the storms that passed through the county were fast and powerful, leaving quite a bit of debris on county roads. It was much the same way in Bath County, according to Bath Emergency Services Director Andy Seabolt.
“The ditches are full of everything but water, so the water’s got to go somewhere” he says. “From what I understand, there was a tree that fell on a house in Ashwood. Don’t quote me, but I don’t it’s a major loss; I think it’s reparable. There’s a lot of water up through Burnsville, Muddy Run, then up to Williamsville. I don’t think it got into any buildings [but] I’m not for sure. But from what I understand, there’s no damages to structures.”
As in Bath, Highland County Virginia Dept of Transportation crews were busy Thursday morning clearing debris and doing road repairs. At least one road in McDowell was washed out, but by mid morning Thursday, at least one lane had been restored by the VDOT crew.