Despite Ida's heavy rains, Mineral County fares well
KEYSER - The sun was out and school was back in session Thursday morning. Except for some areas where debris still lay along the roadways and people were cleaning up flooded basements, you would never know Tropical Storm Ida had dumped up to 5 inches of rain on Mineral County the day before.
Ida seemed to have taken it a little easy on Mineral County - at least a lot easier than some nearby areas where rushing floodwaters wreaked havoc on several homes and forced the closure of numerous roads. Allegany and Garrett counties in Maryland fared much worse, with first responders even having to perform a water rescue in Ellerslie, Allegany County, after a person became stranded in the low-lying portion of town.
Mineral County Office of Emergency Management director Luke McKenzie told the News Tribune they did not receive any calls for help nor did they have to ask anyone to evacuate their homes.
The heaviest periods of rain seemed to hit mid-morning to early afternoon, prompting Mineral County Schools and a number of area businesses to close early.
McKenzie admitted that New Creek was making people “a little nervous” right around that time as the rushing water rose closer and closer to the edge in some spots. Once the rains dwindled to a light sprinkle, however, the creek quickly started to recede.
“It was already down about a foot an hour ago,” McKenzie told the News Tribune around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
According to McKenzie, he and his staff use readings on a gauge in New Creek to determine the danger level. Once the gauge reaches a 5, he explained, that’s considered the “watch stage,” At level 6, the OEM starts urging voluntary evacuations along the creek.
“It actually only got about a half foot below 5,” he said.
While OEM staff continue to monitor New Creek and other streams in the county, they are continuously checking various areas throughout the county for high water, downed trees, etc.
“One of us is out there at all times,” McKenzie said.
The majority of the problems during the heaviest point of the rains seemed to be culverts and small streams that jumped their banks, pouring rushing water out into nearby roadways, as well as standing water where drainage is poor.
The entrance to the Mill Creek Golf Club, just off U.S. Route 50 near Burlington, was under water, as was the intersection of Patterson Creek Road and Headsville Road.
Mineral County 911 reported a number of calls for downed trees and flooded basements.
Liz Beavers is a veteran writer and managing editor of the Mineral Daily News Tribune. You can check out her bio and more of her work at https://www.newstribune.info/staff/6477370002/liz-beavers/. To reach out to her with a story idea, email email@example.com.