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Warm temps, snow melt bring flooding threat

Journal photo by Ron Agnir As of Tuesday afternoon the Opequon Creek is less than two feet short of flooding over Douglas Grove Road.
Journal photo by Ron Agnir
As of Tuesday afternoon the Opequon Creek is less than two feet short of flooding over Douglas Grove Road.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Opequon Creek near Martinsburg that will affect both Berkeley and Jefferson counties from this afternoon to Friday morning.

“Typically what we see is Back Creek flooding as well, but we just kind of have to wait and see,” said Eddie Gochenour, director of Berkeley County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “It’s going to depend on the temperature, but snow melt is the biggest problem we usually have.”

The NWS has also issued a flood watch for the Shenandoah River near Millville in Jefferson County and the Cacapon River near Great Cacapon in Morgan County.

“We are asking for people who normally experience flooding to voluntarily evacuate if they need to get out,” said Matt Grimley, Great Cacapon Volunteer Fire Department Chief. “There is no imminent danger right now, and there are no emergencies at this time, though.”

Grimley said two low-water bridges on Powerhouse Road and Rockford Road that normally flood are currently experiencing some minor flooding.

“We just want people to know that this is the time to get out if they live in those areas, but there is nothing major happening,” Grimley said.

Warmer temperatures climbing into the upper 50s and showers today could cause some of the snow that has collected in the tri-county area to melt.

“We suggest that people should be prepared for localized flooding, but no serious flooding is happening,” said Dick Myers, director of the Morgan County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “Don’t drive through standing water, and use caution, especially with all the snow that has piled up.”

For Berkeley County, the forecast calls for the water of Opequon Creek, a tributary stream of the Potomac River, to rise above flood stage by mid-afternoon Wednesday and crest near 12.2 feet by Thursday morning. The river will fall below flood stage by early Friday morning.

At 12.5 feet, Opequon Creek is well out of its banks, according to the NWS. Portions of Stonebridge Golf Club are flooded, and Golf Course Road is flooded near the Stone Bridge at that level. In addition, fields and backyards near the creek are flooded and some residents may need to move items to higher ground.

Roads that could be affected include Grapevine Road, Douglas Grove Road, and Paynes Ford Road. Backwater flooding could occur on nearby tributaries, including Tuscarora Creek.

“If there is water in the road, turn around,” Gochenour said. “You never know what the ground is like beneath the water, so just use necessary caution.”

For more information, visit weather.gov for updated forecasts and warnings.

Staff writer Emily Daniels can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 132, or twitter.com/emilykdaniels.

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