Flood threat subsides

May 07, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

TRI-STATE -- It appears the worst flooding threats from the recent heavy rains are over and weather officials still are expecting the Potomac River to crest below flood stages in towns along the river, a National Weather Service spokesman said Thursday night.

Although it does not appear there will be any more widespread heavy rain, a strong thunderstorm could cause localized flooding, said Jared Klein, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

"Especially because the ground is very saturated," Klein said.

There is a chance of thunderstorms Friday after 2 p.m.

A flood watch that had been posted for the area was supposed to be in effect until Thursday night, but weather officials canceled the watch early Thursday after rainfall started diminishing.

Water was washing over a couple of Washington County roads Wednesday night, but 911 officials said Thursday night there no longer were any high water problems.


The Potomac River is supposed to crest Friday morning in Hancock at about 16.5 feet, Klein said. Flood stage in Hancock is 30 feet. The river stood at 15.16 feet in Hancock Thursday at 8:15 p.m., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Web site.

Also Friday morning, the Potomac River is expected to crest in Williamsport below the 23-foot flood stage, but above the town's 15-foot caution stage, Klein said.

Caution stage is when it is hazardous to be on the river.

The river stood at 13.4 feet in Williamsport Thursday at 6:04 a.m., according to the NOAA.

High water is not expected to create any problems in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet, Klein said.

In Shepherdstown, W.Va., high muddy water in the Potomac River often causes screens on the town's water intake pipe in the river to become clogged with debris, said Frank Welch, director of the town's public works.

That happened during the recent high water, and Wednesday, town workers put a temporary pump on a boat ramp at the end of Princess Street to pump water up to the town's nearby water plant, Welch said.

Welch said he did not know how long the town might have to use the temporary pump.

Town workers tried to start up the regular intake pipe Thursday and the regular pumps still were "acting up," Welch said.

The Tri-State area was drenched by rains that continued for days. Almost 4 inches of rain has fallen in Hagerstown since May 1, according to, a Web site maintained by Hagerstown weather observer Greg Keefer.

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