By Derek Tyson, The Welch News Editor
WELCH, WV – As today’s County Commission meeting came to a close, 911 Center Director Teresa VanDyke ended with an update on weather expected to affect the area tonight.
“The National Weather Service says we’re looking at up to an inch and a half more than what we already have,” said VanDyke. “With the saturated ground and still extremely high water levels in the small streams and rivers we have, they’re very concerned as to what will happen in the middle of the night.”
To prepare for the worst case scenario, VanDyke said the 911 Center had readied all vehicles as well as reached out to all law enforcement offices, EMS, Fire Departments, and Red Cross in regards to shelters. She also was in contact with Transportation Director Adam Grygiel and Superintendent Carolyn Falin of McDowell County Schools.
“I have additional staff coming in tonight as well as tomorrow,” said VanDyke. “Some are on standby in case we need to call them in.”
“So the rain is expected to hit later tonight,” asked Commission President Cecil Patterson.
“I was told that flooding possibilities are more likely between 3 a.m and 8 a.m.,” said VanDyke. “I’m going to go home and get some sleep, but I’ll be back at 2 a.m. I want to make sure I’m at the office and they can call me sooner if something changes.”
With everything prepared, all that is left to do is wait to see what happens, according to VanDyke.
“There is a good indication that we’ll get hit again,” said VanDyke. “We’ll have to watch for rock and land slides, trees bringing power lines down, things like that.”
“What about tomorrow,” asked Patterson.
“If we get through the night, we’ll be pretty good,” said VanDyke. “Tomorrow we’re looking at basic winds with a wintery mix. If we can get through to 10 a.m., hopefully we’ll be okay.”
All three Commissioners commended the 911 Center staff, local law enforcement, EMS, Fire Departments, Steven’s Correctional employees and more for their dedication and service during last week’s flooding. They also urged everyone to stay alert and safe as the weather unfolds.