Melting mountain snowpack could lead to high water concerns


PARSONS, W.Va. – Rounds of wintry weather during the month of February have dropped several inches of snow for the mountains of West Virginia.

While this snowpack is both beautiful and great for the area ski resorts, warming temperatures this week in combination with a wetter than average next six to ten days could lead to rising rivers. Tucker County Emergency Manager Kevin White says that this is the something he is monitoring closely.

“In Davis and in Canaan Valley on the eastern side of Tucker County, we have around a 24-inch snow pack right now,” said White. “Which is an extreme amount when you’re looking at the snow ratio vs water.”

Latest analysis by the National Weather Service shows that this snow pack has roughly 3 inches of snow to water equivalence. Current water levels for the Cheat and Tygarts Valley rivers are right at average but latest modeling shows these areas could potentially have minor flooding issues by the middle of next week due to the melting of this snowpack and additional rainfall. 

“Seven of our highest river crests have occurred during January through March,” explained White. “In Tucker County we are more aware of the ranging type of weather and the snow melt during that time of the year.”

While there is no immediate threat, Tucker County officials in coordination with the Pittsburgh National Weather Service are working together to stay ahead of any issues.

“We communicate with all of our responders when we start seeing things, maybe even as far as two, three, four days or even a week out,” said White. “We also try to start putting out information to be prepared for 72 hours of self sustainability in case something would happen.”

The StormTracker 12 Weather Team will be monitoring the snowpack as well as any potential high water issues throughout the next few weeks.

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