No flood this time

A White Christmas is out of the question, but area residents can still dream of a relatively dry one.

The Ohio River is expected to slowly inch above 30 feet late Christmas Eve, but a previous estimation that saw the crest nearing action stage was lowered by the National Weather Service Monday.

“Action stage is 33 feet and we should stay below that. With most of the rain already falling and gauges upstream already cresting, we’re not expecting a big surge,” said Tim Axford, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The gauge on the Muskingum River at Beverly was still above the 26-foot action stage Monday afternoon, but had crested Sunday evening just over 27 feet and was expected to continue to fall, said Axford.

Beverly business owner Jay Hockenberry, who owns Auto Choice on Ohio 60, did not expect the water to reach his business.

“It was bank full (Sunday) night. It really takes a lot of water to make it flood,” said Hockenberry.

The water was still five feet shy of getting on Beverly streets Monday afternoon and Bryan Jarvis, supervisor of streets for the village, said he hopes it stays dry.

“It’s too close to Christmas to have to worry about this stuff,” he said.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office plans to keep an eye on potential flooding areas as high water from surrounding rivers and streams makes its way downstream, said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

“There are several of the low water areas we check,” he said.

As of Monday at noon, four roads were impassable or partly blocked, he said. Main Street in Macksburg, Jett Hill Road at County Road 9, and Caywood Road at Stanleyville Road were all covered. Hills Bridge Road at Zion Ridge Road was halfway blocked, said Mincks.

Though the Ohio River will continue to creep upward well into Christmas Eve and possibly into Christmas Day, South Fifth Street resident Harry Barengo said is not worried.

“Not at all,” he added.

Even at the 35-foot minor flood stage his house near the Ohio River is safe.

“You’d have to get your cars out by 36,” he said.

But Barengo has been watching the predictions and is confident the river will not get to that level.

As the waters recede Christmas Day, residents can expect snippets of sunshine and a high around 35 degrees, said Axford.