Rivers crest after weekend rainstorm

April 18, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS |
  • The Shenandoah River at Harpers Ferry rises Monday.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

HARPERS FERRY, W.VA. — Both the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers were above flood stage for much of the day Monday near Harpers Ferry, W.Va., as the effects of Saturday's heavy rain continued to be felt across the region.

The Potomac River at Harpers Ferry rose above its flood stage of 18 feet at about 11:15 p.m. Sunday, crested at about 7:15 a.m. Monday at about 18.9 feet, and sank back below flood stage at about 4 p.m. Monday, according to U.S. Geological Survey readings reported online by the National Weather Service.

The Shenandoah River at Millville, W.Va., a few miles southwest of Harpers Ferry, rose above its flood stage of 13.5 feet at about 6:10 p.m. Sunday and crested at about 11:30 a.m. at about 15.9 feet, the USGS readings show.

More than 2 inches of rain fell throughout the Tri-State area during Saturday's storm.

Matt Minnick, a firefighter with Friendship Fire Co. in Harpers Ferry, said Monday afternoon that aside from a flooded basement, his department hadn't seen any emergencies related to the high water.

"It's just up where it usually gets when it rains hard," he said of the Potomac's water level.

But across the river in Knoxville, Md., local garden center owner Annie Hall was dealing with the aftermath of flood waters that she said floated away her plants, damaged her greenhouses and left everything coated in a half-inch of silt and mud.

"It came rushing the way it does down in Harpers Ferry — you see the whitecaps — it was like that," said Hall, who estimated the damage to her business, Grasshopper Perennials, was between $5,000 and $10,000.

"People had told me this was the worst they had seen in 22 years of living around here," she said.

The flooding that affected Hall came from a nearby stream called Israel Creek, she said.

Hall said her insurance was not going to cover the damage. Some customers had stopped by to help her out as she searched for salvageable plants and containers.

"What I'm hoping for is if anybody that's a grower or has a garden center or has greenhouses has any spare growing mix, they'd be able to donate," Hall said.

In Williamsport, Md., the Potomac River was measured at about 18.3 feet Monday morning. That's above its action stage of 15 feet but well below its flood stage of 23 feet.

The Conochocheage Creek did rise above its flood stage in the aftermath of Saturday's storm. The Conococheague at Fairview was observed above its 10-foot flood stage at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday night, crested at about 13.6 feet around 10 a.m. Sunday, and dropped below flood stage at about 8:30 a.m. Monday.

A Washington County, Md., emergency dispatcher said Monday afternoon that the county's 911 center had dispatched calls for 5 inches of water in a basement on Greenwich Drive in Williamsport around noon and for flooding conditions on Sterling Road, near Halfway, at about 12:30.

A National Weather Service flood warning for areas along the Conococheague Creek in Washington County was lifted late Monday morning, but flood warnings along the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry and the Shenandoah River at Millville were still in effect Monday evening.

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