Rainfall swells streams
Winter storm caps a wild day of weather
Marietta went from temperatures in the 60s and fog through a steady, daylong rain to sleet and snow Friday, an entire winter of weather in one day.
When springlike temperatures melted an accumulation of snow, followed by more than an inch of rain, streams swelled and roads closed.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office reported a dozen road closures in the county by 10:30 a.m. Friday, scattered across the county. Ohio 618 at Bender Road and Bender Road a mile off Ohio 7 closed just after 3 a.m. An hour later, Stanleyville Narrows at Nichols Road and Oxbow Road at St. Andrews Boulevard closed, followed shortly afterward by Dunbarger Road at Ohio 821 and Veto Road at mile 14. Main Street in Macksburg closed just before 6 a.m., and between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. the 200 block Hills Bridge Road, Ohio 26 between Marietta and Ohio 260, Ohio 145 near Lower Salem, and Ohio 821 between Lower Salem and Ohio 530 all became impassable. At 10:30 a.m., Ohio 26 at mile 7 closed.
Sheriff Larry Mincks said late Friday afternoon that no rescues had been necessary as the waters around the county rose.
According to U.S. Geological Survey data, the Ohio River rose from 14.95 feet at midnight to 25.78 feet at 6 p.m. Friday, a surge of more than 10 feet in 18 hours. It is expected to crest at 30.1 feet at 6 p.m. Sunday. Flood stage is 35 feet.
At the Wrangler Tavern in Whipple late Friday afternoon, server Amy Hoopes said the streets in town were covered with water. Just south of Whipple, Ohio 821 was closed where the road drops and runs by Duck Creek.
“So far, we’ve gotten one car stuck and the firetruck pulled it out,” she said.
At Stanleyville Stables on Stanleyville Narrows Road near Duck Creek, Sheena Brammer said the barn and the 18 horses stabled there were isolated by floodwater but the animals were safe.
“We’re getting in and out by canoe,” she said. “The barn sits on a hill, and when it gets like this it becomes an island.”
“We have a full barn, and it’s nice and warm and dry in there,” she said. “They’re all comfortable in their stalls, plenty of bedding and hay.”
Brammer, who has been in the area for five years, said this kind of flooding is unusual for this time of the year.
“It’s usually in the spring when we have a thaw or a late snow,” she said.
The flooding was expected to abate as temperatures fell overnight.
Dave Marsalek, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, W.Va., said at 6 p.m. Friday the temperature was 37 degrees and falling. The high Friday was 64 degrees at noon; the overnight low was forecast to be 20 at 6 a.m. Saturday, a drop of 44 degrees in 18 hours.
The transition will include continued precipitation, which Marsalek said would turn from rain to sleet to snow.
“We’ve got a cold front moving through with a lot of precipitation,” he said. “We’re generally looking at a tight gradient of snowfall, with one to two inches in Parkersburg, two to four inches in Marietta and on the northwestern side of Washington County up to five inches,” he said. The snow is expected to gradually drop off by sunrise Saturday but it could leave roads in treacherous condition.
“We’ve got wet roads with snowfall, temperatures in the low 20s or upper teens, the moisture could freeze,” he said. The combined rainfall for Thursday and Friday approached two inches, he said.
Cold weather is expected to continue for several days, he said, with highs in the 20s Saturday and Sunday and single digit lows on Sunday. The high Monday could edge about freezing, but temperatures are expected to remain below freezing after that until Friday.
Weather forecast for the weekend:
¯ Saturday: Snow should back down by sunrise, cold, highs in the 20s, lows single digits.
¯ Sunday: Continuing cold, high 20, low 7.
¯ Monday through week’s end: Still cold, not expected to get above freezing until Friday.