Potomac crests above flood stage at Paw Paw

May 04, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

TRI-STATE -- The Potomac River passed flood stage Tuesday in Paw Paw, W.Va., but it is too early to tell whether the levels elsewhere will stay below that stage as more rain hits the area, a weather official said.

A frontal system is currently stalled over the region, which is triggering "batches of precipitation," National Weather Service spokesman Calvin Meadows said Tuesday afternoon.

The system could dump another 1 1/2 inches of rain on the Washington County area by Thursday afternoon, Meadows said.

Water levels on the Potomac were cresting Tuesday in some local areas but levels at some towns were expected to rise again this week.

In Paw Paw, the Potomac River spilled over flood stage at about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday when the river reached 25.94 feet, Meadows said. Flood stage in Paw Paw is 25 feet.


Although a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Web site graph showed the river level was expected to start dropping in Paw Paw, it was expected to start climbing again toward 24 feet sometime Thursday.

In Hancock, the Potomac River crested at about 22.34 feet at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, Meadows said. Flood stage in Hancock is 30 feet. Hancock's "action stage" -- which Meadows said is when a river is at the top of its bank -- is 24 feet.

The high water at Hancock was starting to have an obvious effect Tuesday as water from the Little Tonoloway Creek began invading Widmeyer Park.

Although the NOAA Web site shows that the Potomac River at Hancock was expected to drop after Tuesday's crest, the river could rise again to about the 22-foot level by Thursday or Friday.

In Williamsport, flood stage is 23 feet. At 4 p.m. Tuesday, the level was 20.2 feet, Meadows said.

The Potomac was supposed to crest at about 5 p.m. Tuesday in Williamsport but the level was unknown because someone was going to have to go down to the river in town and record it, Meadows said.

In Harpers Ferry, W.Va., flood stage is 18 feet. The Potomac River reached 13.65 feet there at 1:49 p.m. Tuesday, Meadows said.

National Weather Service officials did not have a forecasted crest for Harpers Ferry from the rain earlier in the week but said it was expected to be below flood stage.

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