MEIGS COUNTY — Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
That was the overwhelming message on Friday as officials and representatives from numerous agencies gathered at the Robert E. Byer Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to prepare for the upcoming flooding predicted along the Ohio River.
As the meeting began, the river was projected to crest in Pomeroy at a level of 54.1 feet, a projection which decreased to 51.8 feet on the Friday afternoon update which took place during the meeting. While the forecasted river crest levels have been reduced by the National Weather Service, the threats of continued rains can affect the predictions, stated the Emergency Management Agency. The current estimated crest at the Belleville Locks and Dams is 44 feet, Racine Locks and Dams is 48.2 feet.
While there was relief with the lower projection, it will still be a foot to two feet higher than the crest last weekend which resulted in many closed roadways and water in buildings along the river.
As of 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, the National Weather Service had lowered the river estimates once again, with a projected crest of 45.4 feet on Tuesday at the Racine Locks. The crest is now projected at 49 feet in Pomeroy on Tuesday. The crest is projected at 39.6 feet on Tuesday morning at Belleville.
These levels are lower at each location than the crest from a week ago.
The EOC is now in operation and will be during the duration of the flooding, with representatives from EMA, fire, medical and law enforcement, along with other volunteers on hand to assist with managing the situation.
A shelter has been opened at the Meigs County Council on Aging at 112 East Memorial Drive in Pomeroy for residents who are impacted by the flooding. The shelter will likely be staffed by the American Red Cross, as well as local volunteers. Transportation for those who need to evacuate will also be available.
Anyone who needs assistance in transportation to the center is to call 740-992-4726.
For those wishing to make donations to help those impacted by flooding, Meigs EMA has announced the following plans.
If you would like to send donations of money you can send or drop checks off the Meigs County Auditors Office, 100 East Second Street, Pomeroy Ohio, 45769. Please write flood donation in the memo line of your check. For information on how to donate cleaning supplies you can call 740-992-4732.
As the flooding approaches the area, several agencies have announced flood preparations.
Ohio University has cancelled classes for Monday, Feb. 26 in “anticipation of severe weather and potential flooding.” The Hocking River is currently projected to crest at 24.2 feet in Athens on Monday. That water level would place water on East State Street in the city.
Pleasant Valley Hospital (PVH) is also preparing for “potentially serious flooding” which means roadways and medical care services may be blocked and access will be limited.
“Pleasant Valley Hospital is a provider of critical services, which is why we’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure we have the proper staff, supplies, and transportation available. For the transport of patients to PVH and our tertiary facility in Huntington, we are working closely with Mason County Emergency Management Services to watch for blocked roads and hazards. Our emergency and trauma center staff also have air medical transport services on standby,” stated Glen Washington, FACHE, CEO, in a news release.
“We encourage you to check on the frail and elderly who need may need access to medical care and medications. If you know of anyone getting cut off by water and are in need of medical care, please make arrangements to get them to the nearest hospital or call 911,” stated Washington.
Ohio Valley Publishing will provide updates as made available by Meigs County EMA, as well as any statements made by other agencies in the area.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.