EMA Officials: Expect Worse River Flooding

WHEELING — After several years without a significant Ohio River flood, officials are preparing for the second such natural disaster within a week — and predictions show this weekend’s event will be even worse.

Both Ohio County Emergency Management Director Lou Vargo and Marshall County EMA Director Tom Hart said residents and businesses should prepare for “significant river flooding” during the weekend. Current National Weather Service models show the river should reach its high point late Sunday or very early Monday at both Wheeling and Moundsville.

“The forecast right now for the Ohio River at Moundsville is that it will crest at 43 feet, but that could change,” Hart said.

At Moundsville, flood stage is considered 37 feet. For comparison, Hart said the river crested at 40.7 feet last weekend.

“The ground is very saturated, and we’ve got a lot of runoff,” Hart said. “The time for folks to plan and prepare is now while there is still time.”

In Wheeling, Vargo said projections show the river will crest at 41.5 feet, which is up from the 39.9 feet at which it topped out last weekend. Flood stage at Wheeling is 36 feet.

At the Pike Island Locks and Dam, slightly north of the city, the river is expected to crest at 42 feet.

“And before we even get to the weekend, we’re going to have creek flooding and landslides,” Vargo said. “It’s just a mess right now.”