BUCKHANNON – About two-and-a-half inches of rain that fell in less than an hour battered downtown Buckhannon Monday night, leaving many streets and roadways impassable and sending a slew of emergency responders out to ensure the situation didn’t worsen.
Buckhannon Fire Chief J.B. Kimble said Tuesday morning that the fire department’s rain gauge showed that two-and-a-half inches of rain fell in less than 60 minutes. The torrential downpour began just after 8 p.m. and emergency responders, including the fire department, street department and police department, blocked off a slew of water-covered streets.
The worst-hit areas included Boggess, Gum, Kepner, Myrna and Lincoln streets, along with Amalia Drive, South Florida Street, Madison Street and the triangle area, Kimble said.
“I’ve only seen that one other time in those areas, and it wasn’t as bad as this,” Kimble said of Monday evening’s storms and resulting flash flood. Although roads were impassable, no one was injured and no one had to be rescued from any vehicles.
“I think we got to it pretty quick,” Kimble said.
Emergency responders were on scene downtown for about four hours.
A floodwater-related short in a breaker that resulted in a blown transformer on an electric pole in the alley behind the VFW led to a more than eight-hour power outage for a handful of businesses on Main Street. However, by late morning Tuesday, most of the lost power had been restored.
A few residents reported seeing a dumpster floating in the water near the Kanawha Lounge and a few opportunistic kayakers tried to paddle through the pooled water near the triangle.
On Tuesday, Buckhannon mayor Robbie Skinner thanked the fire and street departments for their efforts.
“I want to sincerely thank all of our Street Department and Fire Department for basically having all-hands-on-deck to help our community in a time of need,” Skinner said. “I’m sad for anybody who lost any personal property from the floodwaters last night, but I’m also thankful that no one was injured when the waters came through.”
Other than several reports of downed trees on the Buckhannon Mountain Road, Kesling Mill Road and in Spruce Fork Road area, Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management director Brian Shreves said there were no major issues out in the county.
Tuesday’s forecast is calling for a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., but other than some patchy fog on Wednesday, clear skies and sunshine are predicted for Wednesday and Thursday, according to the National Weather Service in Charleston.