Elm Run Floods Again

WHEELING – With her umbrella in tow, Elm Street resident Jane Nau peered over the edge of the small concrete bridge leading to her home, hoping water from Elm Run wouldn’t top it.

A couple of years ago it did, forcing the closure of the road and leaving behind a muddy mess. Nau, along with neighbors Bruce Kiger and brothers Chuck and Joseph Thompson, believe the small creek needs cleaned out, that doing so in at least one low-lying section would prevent the flooding. Residents said they have sought help from the city in the past, but were told it was a private property issue.

Public Works Director Russell Jebbia said while the creek itself is not private property, the grounds up to the street are. He noted he talked with Kiger this morning about looking into whether the residents would need a state permit before trying to clean out the creek bed themselves.

He said, however, it was possible the drop inlets could still back up periodically and cause flooding at some intersections.

Jebbia said the city is responsible for the areas where the creek runs under city property, such as the streets, bridges and water inlets. But the creek runs through many people’s backyards. For example, residents recently replaced a section of wall along the run on Elm Street, Jebbia said.

“That was all done by the property owner,” Jebbia said.

As residents periodically checked the creek’s height, Wheeling Fire Lt. Tadd DeLuca also showed up to do the same. He said as long as the rain stopped, the creek likely would go down.

“This is usually a dry creek bed. It only floods when it rains,” DeLuca said, noting the run’s bottom contains grass and dirt.

Resident Chuck Thompson said he remembers the run covering the road two years ago.

“It was during the summer when there was three or four days of rain. … It was nothing but mud for four days,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lou Vargo, Wheeling-Ohio County Emergency Management Agency director, said he continues to watch other creeks and streams in the county. No other flooding was occurring this morning, he said.

In Marshall County, Emergency Management Agency Director Tom Hart said there was some minor flooding on Upper Grave Creek and North Fork Creek in Loudonville area of Cameron. In the Viola area, some water was on Cold Springs Road.

“We’ve got high water in several areas of the county right now, primarily in low lying areas and fields and in a couple areas in Big Wheeling Creek, east of Graysville,” he said.

Hart warned that motorists should not try to cross roads with water on them, as even as little as 6 inches of water can pick up and carry a vehicle away.