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Storms may produce flash flooding


The Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The National Weather Service in Charleston has issued a flash flood watch for the region through Friday evening.

In West Virginia, the watch was issued for the counties of Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Harrison, Jackson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, McDowell, Mingo, Nicholas, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie, Roane, Taylor, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wirt, Wood and Wyoming.

The watch also includes Boyd, Carter, Greenup and Lawrence counties in Kentucky and the southeast Ohio counties of Athens, Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Morgan, Perry, Vinton and Washington.

The flash flood watch is in effect until 8 p.m. Friday, July 28, according to John Victory, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston.

“Thunderstorms moving through the area will feature heavy rain and could train – that is, storms may regenerate and track through the same regions repeatedly,” Victory said.

Victory said the weather service is tracking a slow-moving cold front out of Ohio moving east to southeast.

“The atmosphere ahead of this cold front is very tropical and will produce rounds of showers and thunderstorms with very heavy rain expected through Friday,” he said. “This rainfall, coupled with rain that has already fallen, could produce flash flooding, especially along small streams, creeks, low spots and poor drainage areas.”

Victory said there could be some gusty winds, but the National Weather Service did not expect this to turn into severe weather.

“However, a flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding,” he explained. “Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation.”

Victory said folks in the region should monitor forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued.

To see the latest weather forecast and weather information from the National Weather Service, go online to

Flood safety tips

BEWARE FLOODED ROADWAYS: Roughly 60 percent of flood-related deaths are the result of people driving vehicles through flooded roadways. Never attempt to drive on a flooded roadway. The average automobile will float in 2 feet of water. You have no way of knowing how deep the water is on a roadway or if the roadway is even still there, because flash floods can easily wash roads, guard rails and bridges away.

QUICK CHANGES: Even if the vehicle in front of you successfully crossed a water-covered road, it is best to turn around and find an alternate route or wait. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are not immune to floodwaters. Be especially alert at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

STAY OUT OF WATER: Never attempt to walk or swim through flood water. Six inches of rapidly moving floodwater can knock an adult off his feet. Do not bathe, swim, walk or allow children to play in floodwater (moving or not). Floodwaters often carry dead animals, sewage, pesticides, herbicides, automotive fluids and other toxic materials. Anything coming in contact with floodwater should be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly. If an item cannot be cleaned thoroughly, it should be thrown away.

KEEP CHILDREN AWAY: Never let children play near creeks or storm drains. Aside from the biological health risks from coming in contact with floodwater, storm drains are designed to move water quickly. This very design also makes escape from drainage infrastructure incredibly difficult should a person be swept away.

CARE WITH CAMP SITES: Never set up camp on the banks of a river or creek. Flash floods affect the entire length of a waterway and its tributaries. It is best to allow some distance and elevation between your campsite and the river or creek. This will allow you some time to escape should a flash flood occur.

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