WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – WTRF continues its 70-year celebration with a look back at some of the most significant weather events that StormTracker7 was able to cover for you.
On October 24th, 1953, WTRF hit the ground running and has not looked back in the last 70 years. Now, there have been plenty of weather events to talk about. I mean, of course, weather impacts your daily life.
Over the last 70 years, in terms of talking about some of the major events, I do want just to say that through WTRF in StormTracker7, we have worked diligently on the air and behind the scenes, past and present, to bring you the most accurate and up to date weather information, as well as share that same passion.
Wegee Creek Flood, 1990
When it comes to talking about the weather across the Ohio Valley in terms of what this looks like. Again, there were plenty of weather events, but I was able to narrow it down to three events, one in particular, especially as we head into eastern Ohio: what is now known as the Flood of Tears, talking about the Wegee Creek flood that impacted Shadyside, Ohio, June 14th through the 15th of 1990 with Wegee Creek Pipe Creek and Cumberland run flooding.
The lead-up to this event was quite literally the perfect storm. We had a very soggy month of May with well above-average rain totals through the Ohio River Valley. But in terms of the perfect storm, you had five and a half inches of rainfall falling with 3 to 4-inch-per-hour rainfall rates. To put this into perspective, seasons experience around 1 to 1 and a half inches of rainfall within a standard thunderstorm.
We also had 20-plus feet walls of water that were moving cars with ease, pulling homes off of their foundations, and transporting mobile homes down the roads like they were nothing. This, unfortunately, led to the deaths of 26 individuals over a six-week span once they were able to recover all the bodies. In terms of a damage estimate from the US Geological Survey, it was roughly $4 million back in 1990. In today’s currency, 9.4 million.
Wheeling Island Flood of 1996
Moving up the Ohio River to the flood of 1996 of Wheeling Island. That is. We’re, of course, talking about some of the devastation that occurred whenever the Ohio River crested to 45.4 feet. Major flood stage. This flood itself allowed the residents to get their number to indicate and figure out at what stage within the hydrographic and flood stage chart you really need to take precautions.
One thousand one hundred people on Wheeling Island had at least six plus feet of water within their homes. And it wasn’t necessarily what was happening here at home because rain totals over the two-day span of January 20th and 21st had right around two inches of rainfall. It was more so what was impacting central Pennsylvania along the Allegheny Plateau because a week before, there was a blizzard. That led to plenty of rainfall-runoff due to snowmelt within the Allegheny Plateau because the Ohio River is more of a combination of its two tributaries, the Allegheny and the Monongahela River, leading to the Ohio River.
Ice jamming also caused portions of the Ohio River to become clogged and flood, not helping when it came to the Wheeling Island flood back in 1996.
In terms of damage caused in eastern Ohio and the northern panhandle of West Virginia, this totaled roughly $13.2 million in 1996. In today’s currency, $26.2 million.
Blizzard of 1993
In terms of what is now known as the storm of the century. I’m, of course, talking about the blizzard of 1993. This was quite the perfect setup and also the perfect storm whenever it comes to just synoptic or big-scale weather events.
This storm itself impacted 120 million Americans from Texas all the way up to Maine.
Now, regarding what this did for us here at home, right around 10 to 20 inches of snowfall through portions of eastern Ohio, in the northern panhandle, areas of Marshall, Tyler, and Wetzel County received 20 to 30 inches of rainfall.
Again, it is a perfect weather setup. This was the second costliest winter storm in American history. Now, of course, there were plenty of other weather events that I could have broken down and talked about, but these were the three big ones that stood out, in my opinion, in terms of moving forward.
We hope you stay with WTRF and Storm Tracker seven whenever it comes to all things news and weather-related.