Ohio County EMA warns of flash floods ahead of Ida’s path

West Virginia Headlines

Ohio County EMA Director Lou Vargo says they’re already planning for the worst.

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — West Virginia’s governor has already prepared for a state of emergency when it comes to Ida’s path. So, how should you prepare? 

Lou Vargo just got off the phone with the National Weather Service.

“If you live on the creeks, just prepare for flash flooding.” 

Lou Vargo, Director of Wheeling-Ohio County Emergency Management Agency

All the county directors in the state were on a call Monday morning.  

“The remnants of Ida will be coming north and to the east and that track is taking it basically over West Virginia.” 

Lou Vargo, Director of Wheeling-Ohio County Emergency Management Agency

We’re slated on the cusp of six inches from Ida. That’s not accounting for the rain Ohio County is predicted to see Monday night and Tuesday.  It will saturate the ground, so when the remnants of Ida eventually head here Wednesday, the sponge below our feet might be full. 

“Two to four inches over a day and a half is one thing. Two to four inches in several hours is another thing. And that’s really the danger of flash flooding.” 

Lou Vargo, Director of Wheeling-Ohio County Emergency Management Agency

This is not the first time West Virginia could face flooding on a mass scale and Vargo knows firsthand what we’re up against. 

“We saw years ago with Wegee Creek. A small little creek but we got water dumped on us in the valleys and then we have a devastating flood. We’ve seen that on Short Creek where I’ve seen house trailers picked up and moved a couple hundred yards down the creek and just destroyed.” 

Lou Vargo, Director of Wheeling-Ohio County Emergency Management Agency

This could be the first time they might have to open a mass care shelter in the middle of a pandemic, where Red Cross rules mean social distancing will have to be met and masks prepared. 

The Ohio County EMA will be keeping a close eye in the coming days.

This is a heads-up to get the valuables in the basement ready to move. 

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