By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Fortunately for Tucker County, there were only minor damages during the recent flash flooding events, compared to those inflicted on the Harman and Seneca Rocks areas. According to the WV Department of Highways Maintenance Assistant Adam Helmick, he reported, “Most of our damages were ditch lines being washed out.” In addition to the ditches, the county did experience slides due to banks giving away, some down trees and debris, as well as around 100 feet of asphalt compromised on the River Road. However, the River Road, though passable, has been closed for safety precautions until further assessment can be done and repairs made.
Tammy Carr, Storeroom Clerk with WVDOH, said that the Rail Trail is also part of their requirement to repair. She stated the last time a flooding incident washed it out, they were the ones to perform the needed repairs. At the time of publishing, the extent of the damage has yet to be determined to provide an estimated repair date or amounts needed to do so. Until then, that portion of the Rail Trail will be closed to all traffic.
Office of Emergency Management Director and Company 10 VFD Fire Chief Kevin White also provided information regarding the recent flash flooding. He said Shavers Fork River barely raised, though the Cheat and Dry Fork Rivers received the water from Harman resulting in significant amounts of water. The most affected areas included Leadmine, Seven Islands, and anywhere near those two rivers. The Cheat River crested at 17.5 feet, which is the highest it has been since the Flood of 1996 when its peak was 17.9 feet. “The Cheat rose 13 feet in six hours,” White confirmed.
Company 10, Parsons Volunteer Fire Department, was dispatched to Leadmine for possible rescue measures knowing how quickly the water was rising. While on standby, another call for help came from Horseshoe where four individuals were stranded at their campsite. They were also called to the bottom of the Blackman Flats area near the Cheat where individuals required extraction due to water across their driveway and stranding them at their house. White explained what Tucker County mostly experienced was a vast amount of runoff water and to his knowledge, other than basements he does not believe there were any dwellings compromised.
“The DOH has their work cut out for them the next several weeks,” White said. “People need to proceed with caution because the berms and ditches have been compromised,” he added. Tucker County has been declared to be in a State of Emergency due to a declaration signed by the County Commissioners. White explained with this being declared, and since Governor Justice has also declared the county as a disaster area, this opens up the opportunity to receive federal funding if the Federal Government agrees that the damages meet the criteria. The damage thus far includes the costs of the Department of Highway repairs and that claimed by the City of Thomas for damages to their water plant system.
On a positive note, this was the first official alert to go out on the new Tucker Emergency Alert Management System (TEAMS), which assisted in alerting those in the path of the impending weather. This is a free alert system that was featured in a previous article in The Parsons Advocate, and can be utilized by visiting www.911Teams.org
Due to the incident falling during a holiday week, we realize there was more damage and incidences that occurred than have been reported on, or that we were unaware of. Contacts were attempted to be made but were unsuccessful due to vacations and holiday closings.