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NWS Lowers River Level Predictions

By Staff | Mar 2, 2011

While the New Martinsville Fire Department was closely monitoring the possibility of an Ohio River flood today, by Tuesday night the National Weather Service’s Hydrology Service had lowered their crest prediction to only 29.5 feet, below flood stage. That crest is predicted for today from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We don’t see many problems until we reach the 35-foot flood stage,” said NMVFD Fire Chief Larry Couch. He said there could be “back-water” in the low lying areas from McEldowney Avenue south and between Maple Avenue and Martin Avenue to Fishing Creek. Also, Harlan Drive will likely remain closed for the next several days.

“We notified all members, last week, for a ‘Call to Action’, prior to the rains then, to check all of their Water Rescue Safety Apparel,” said Couch. “The typical problems that we have during times of high water are with folks driving in the water and with pranksters removing road blocks and signage, which could lead to a serious emergency for those unfamiliar with the area.”

The Ohio Street Fire Station is affected when the river is expected to exceed 38′. That begins to close the streets to and from the downtown and results in evacuation of the station, moving equipment to the Steelton Station and other location throughout the downtown. Above 38′-40′ the department would establish a command post at North Street and Maple Avenue. Above 40′ the department would establish a command post at McEldowney Avenue and Maple Avenue. Personnel, water rescue, and firefighting equipment would be staged at those command posts.

During the 2004 flood, which followed Hurricane Ivans torrential rains, in a three-day period, Sept. 18-20, New Martinsville Volunteer Firefighters performed 44 rescues extracting 61 people from various water-related emergencies and conducted dozens of “welfare checks” as well as transporting county and city officials and employees to and from the courthouse and city building.