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More soggy weather expected

May 20, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

As area residents on Monday began drying out after days of rain, forecasters say there's more wet weather heading this way.

The National Weather Service says rain could begin falling late today or early Wednesday, and continue off and on through Memorial Day. Some of the rainfall is expected to be heavy at times.

Because of a cold front expected to stall over the region this week, heavy rainfall is expected at the middle and end of the week, bringing with it the potential for flooding, the National Weather Service said.

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Flooding is more likely along smaller creeks and streams, but rivers likely will rise by the end of the week, the weather service said.

According to Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer's Web site, 5.51 inches of rain have fallen this month. The average rainfall for May over the past 30 years is 3.87 inches.

There were 36 calls for flooding conditions throughout Washington County and in Hagerstown between Wednesday and Sunday, said Roy Lescalleet, deputy chief of the county's emergency communications.

Lescalleet said most of those calls were for flooding in homes.

"We had anywhere from a couple inches of water in the basement to several feet" inside homes, Lescalleet said.

"The water table's up probably higher than it's been in years," Lescalleet said.

Hagerstown fire officials issued a reminder that flooding can cause electrical hazards and can damage gas and oil appliances. They recommend that anyone experiencing flooding call 911.

Three vehicles in Washington County were reported trapped in high water Friday when the heaviest flooding was reported, Lescalleet said.

Road flooding conditions Friday in the southern part of the county caused Washington County Public Schools to close an hour early, and school officials will continue to watch the weather this week, said schools spokeswoman Carol Mowen.

"Parents should be aware of weather conditions in the local area and countywide," Mowen said. "It's similar to a snow situation, but with snow, people are more attuned to listen to the radio" or watch television.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for the entire Washington, D.C., region, including Washington County, Frederick County, Md., and West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle.

The National Weather Service forecasts that the Potomac River will remain at hazardous levels for recreation.

In Hancock, the river was expected to crest today at about noon at 10.4 feet. The river's flood stage in Hancock is 30 feet.

In Shepherdstown, W.Va., there was no forecast data available, but by 6 p.m. Monday the river had receded there to 9.1 feet, down from 11.9 feet on Saturday night. Shepherdstown's flood level is 15 feet.

In Harpers Ferry, W.Va., the river had receded to 8.8 feet Monday afternoon from 10.9 feet Saturday night. Harpers Ferry's flood level is 18 feet.

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