In Climate and Weather….

The Free Press WV

►  Friday storms leave much of WV in the dark

A strong line of thunderstorms Friday evening took its toll on much of West Virginia.

The wide-spread storm activity caused power outages from the southern coalfields all the way to Wheeling.

The worst of the storms seemed to be situated on the Route 50 corridor from Parkersburg across north-central West Virginia.

Appalachian Power was dealing with just over 2,100 outages on Saturday morning. The bulk of those outages were in Kanawha and Cabell Counties.

However, the worst outages were in the northern part of the state where Mon Power and Potomac Edison had combined total of more than 12,000 outages at the height of the storm’s aftermath.

Wood County had 2,700 outages. The numbers were similar in nearby Tyler County at 1,200, Wetzel County with 1,500, and another 1,000 in Marion County.

There were 700 outages in Doddridge County while in Pleasants and Wirt County nearly 20 percent of both counties was in the dark. Pendleton County saw about 16 percent of it’s power knocked out by the storms’ winds.

Crews are working today to make the necessary repairs.

Flash Flood Watch for Most of the Area through Noon Friday

The Free Press WV


Portions of southeast Ohio and West Virginia, including the following areas:

In Ohio: Monroe and Washington Counties.

In West Virginia, Barbour, Braxton, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Gilmer, Harrison, Jackson WV, Lewis, Northwest Nicholas, Northwest Randolph, Northwest Webster, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Southeast Randolph, Taylor, Tyler, Upshur, Wirt, and Wood.

Through Friday morning

Rainfall accumulations of around 2 inches are possible with locally heavier amounts.

Urban and small creeks as well as low lying areas could be affected by flooding waters.


A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding.

Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation.

In Climate and Weather….

The Free Press WV

►  Shower, storm possibilities hang over Greenbrier Classic

Showers and thunderstorms were possibilities through Saturday in Greenbrier County.

The 1st round of The Greenbrier Classic, a PGA TOUR event, was scheduled to begin Thursday at The Greenbrier’s Old White TPC Course in White Sulphur Springs.

The competition continues through Sunday.

“Sunday, all in all, is going to be the best day of the whole week,” predicted Stewart Williams, PGA TOUR meteorologist. “It’ll be a nice day.”

Up until then, players and spectators will be dealing with unsettled weather.

Wednesday, Day Three of The Greenbrier Classic, opened with rain.

After Wednesday, the greatest chances for showers and storms were called for on Thursday, though two fast-moving systems had the potential to put down rain for at least part of both Friday and Saturday, according to Williams.

“We’re in the mountains in the summertime,” he explained. “Everything forms here before it rolls off into the Piedmont to the east, so we expect it.”

Since the first Greenbrier Classic in 2010, Williams said he’d learned more about weather forecasting in the Greenbrier Valley which, he admitted, could be “challenging” at times.

“A lot of times the showers and storms will stay along the peaks around us and so you have to keep an eye on it because sometimes they’ll roll off into this valley and, when they do, look out.”

Williams was a guest on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline” which is broadcasting from The Greenbrier Resort for the 2017 Greenbrier Classic.

Last year, the PGA TOUR event was canceled in the aftermath of the 2016 Flood which claimed 23 lives in West Virginia, most of them in Greenbrier County.

Williams remembered when he first started to see pictures and video from White Sulphur Springs in the storm’s aftermath.

“It was shocking,” he said. “It was absolutely incredible to see that little creek out there that normally is pretty tranquil to (turn into) a raging river. It was unbelievable to see that.”

In Climate and Weather….

The Free Press WV

►  Weather will cooperate for 4th of July activities in West Virginia

The weather looks to be favorable for outdoor activities to celebrate Independence Day in West Virginia.

“It’s going to be warm and humid, so if people have problems with the humidity that’s a bad thing,” said Meteorologist Jeff Hovis with the National Weather Service in Charleston. “Otherwise, it’s going to be nice, a front is going to sink down into the area.”

The frontal system with so much humidity could lead to pop up showers and thunderstorms late on Tuesday afternoon and evening.  However, Hovis says the storms will be brief and very scattered when they do arrive.

The forecast is a big plus for parades, picnics, outdoor concerts, and of course the fireworks shows planned throughout West Virginia for the 4th of July.

In Climate and Weather….

The Free Press WV

►  NWS Meterologist: Harrison County tornado appeared in “radar hole”

The National Weather Service in Charleston said Friday night’s confirmed EF1 tornado in Harrison County will offer an interesting case study for West Virginia’s meteorologists in the future.

“It was not the easiest tornado to detect,” Charleston National Weather Service Meterologist Dylan Cooper said. “The tornado actually occurred after the warning expired when we thought the storm had lost it’s tornadic characteristics.”

Cooper said that area of Harrison County — just east of Salem — is too far away from the radars in Charleston or Pittsburgh to deliver pinpoint precision.

“Unfortunately, that far away from the radar we are only able to see about the 8,000 feet mark and above,” he said. “So it’s really hard to get an idea of what’s going on in the very bottom part of the storm. But with the rotation increasing like it did, we decided to issue the tornado warning.”

The tornado touched down around 7:58 p.m., in what Cooper described as a “radar hole,” incurring straight-line wind damage near Jarvisville Road at Sycamore Shaw Road.

Several structures were damaged in the Sycamore Shaw Road area, including a barn that collapsed and partially slid off its foundation. Additionally, a two story home suffered partial wall failure on its eastern side. No injuries or fatalities were reported, but the tornado continued moving towards Clarksburg.

“The most extensive tree damage was on Old Davisson Run Road where we saw multiple healthy hardwood trees that were completely snapped,” Cooper said.

At wind speeds topping out at 110 miles per hour, Cooper said the tornado was on the high-end of the EF1 category. It was, likely, the strongest tornado to hit North Central West Virginia Friday. In a span of less than twenty minutes, three tornadoes touched down in the region Friday. Based on preliminary reports, the first tornado touched down in the Cheat Lake area around 7:40 p.m., and a second tornado touched down about ten miles south of Morgantown seven minutes later. The tornado east of Salem touched down at approximately 7:58 p.m.

“Usually when we see these kind of decaying tropical systems like we had with Cindy, that has the potential to produce several usually smaller spin-up type tornadoes — which is what we saw on Friday,” Cooper said.

West Virginia averages around two tornadoes per year. Cooper said the quantity of tornadic activity Friday wasn’t completely unprecedented — though he hardly called it commonplace. More unique, he said, was when and where the Harrison County tornado touched down.

“We started watching the storm a couple of counties over, and as it passed through Doddridge County we saw the rotation really start to increase,” Cooper said.

When radars can’t tell the entire story, Cooper said it becomes vital that weather spotters continue to report information to the National Weather Service.

“We try to drive home the importance of having people tell us what they are seeing out there, because if the radar can’t see it — if we’ve got eyes that can — that certainly helps us in our warning decisions,” he said.

The EF1 tornado traveled approximately 4.42 miles with a path width of 400 yards before dissipating about 3.7 miles away from Clarksburg.

The Flood of 2016 Cannot Wash Away Our Mountaineer Spirit

The Free Press WV

Friday marked the one year anniversary of the Great Flood of 2016 in West Virginia.  Up to ten inches of rain forced creeks and rivers in the central part of the state over their banks and surging into homes and businesses, washing out roads and bridges.

The turgid waters swept away 23 lives, 15 of them in hard-hit Greenbrier County. The body of Mykala Phillips, 14, wasn’t found until two months after the flood, six miles from where she went into the water.

Initially, shocked eyewitnesses struggled to describe the extent of the loss.  One community after another in a ten county region suffered damage: White Sulphur Springs, Clendenin, Rainelle, Richwood, Clay, Rupert, Brownsville, Belva, Camden on Gauley, Jordan Creek, Wills Creek, Queen Shoals, Nallen, Russellville, Elkview, on and on.

During the worst night, first responders and volunteers risked their own lives to save others. State Police Superintendent Jan Cahill was Greenbrier County sheriff at the time. “A lot of people were pulled off of roofs, trees, the top of automobiles, off of platforms where billboards are,” Cahill said. “That could have easily been several dozen more fatalities if not for the efforts of all involved.”

State and county agencies, along with the National Guard, responded rapidly to the crisis. Where cracks in the relief effort appeared, local residents rolled up their sleeves and assumed command of the situation.

President Obama quickly issued a disaster declaration and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials moved in.  As of today, FEMA has paid out $42 million in individual and housing assistance to 4,950 flood victims.

The tragedy ignited a remarkable spirit of altruism.  Volunteers descended on the flood zone to muck out homes and businesses, serve meals and offer encouragement.  In Clendenin, a stranger gave the shoes off of her feet and a 20-dollar bill to 89-year-old flood victim Ruby Hackney.

Remarkable progress has been made over the last year rebuilding homes and businesses and restoring lives.  Yes, you still find frustration among some over the pace of recovery or the inevitable bureaucracy of government assistance, but there is also gratitude and hope.

The loss of life and the destruction were horrific. However, in the midst of the mud and the mayhem, we again witnessed the best of West Virginia, the indelible Mountaineer Spirit that has been strengthened through adversity and blessed with empathy.

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