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Fayette County town of Pax goes underwater again

Register-Herald photo by Rick Barbero High water signs on Coal River Mountain Road in Pax are covered in snow Thursday.
Register-Herald photo by Rick Barbero
High water signs on Coal River Mountain Road in Pax are covered in snow Thursday.

PAX, W.Va. — Paint Creek was churning rapidly Thursday afternoon, the color of lightly creamed coffee, its banks now visible as hundreds of plastic soda bottles clung to broken three limbs creating perforated dams.

 For nearly 22 hours, the residents in this town, population 162, nervously watched as Paint Creek swelled to near-historic flood levels, then receded only to swell again. As snow fell Thursday, residents were questioning if the creek would surpass the high-water mark of July 8, 2001, when the creek rose 7 feet within hours.

Inside Korner Gas and Grill, Vickie Kelly-Toney sipped coffee as she waited on her order of pancakes and eggs. In a corner booth sat Glenn Johnson and Ewell Wilson drinking coffee, debating when the West Virginia Turnpike shut down because of snow. They agreed in was January, but was it 2009 or 2010?

Toney laughed and shook her head. “This is Pax. The Korner is Pax,” she said, before talking about the latest flooding.

“Any time the water starts to come up, people are calling asking if you are OK, if you need anything,” she said.

On Wednesday, floodwaters submerged the town’s road. The Methodist Church’s parking lot was enveloped in murky water, which came up to the fourth step of the house of worship.

“The way that water was coming up (Wednesday), we really thought it was going to be a repeat of 2001,” said Toney.

Toney and other residents explained that around 1 p.m. Wednesday the water appeared to be receding. But then around 7:30 p.m., floodwater rose again, higher than earlier in the day…

 

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