Two people rescued from flooded Ohio 148
POWHATAN POINT — Firefighters rescued two people whose vehicles got caught on a flooded Ohio 148 in Powhatan early Friday.
Powhatan Point Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Josh Cooper said first responders got the call at 4:12 a.m. Wheeling’s Swift Water Rescue Team was called in to help.
A man driving a tractor-trailer was working at the time and driving along Ohio 148, which is situated near Captina Creek. Cooper estimated the flood water at one point was 6-7 feet deep.
Another stranded vehicle also was caught in the water and its driver also had to be helped, said Wheeling Fire Department Chief Larry Helms
“The guy could not swim,” Cooper said of the tractor-trailer driver.
Cooper, who declined to release the man’s name but believes he lives in the Clarington area, said he was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
“He was wet and cold,” Cooper added.
He noted the water was moving swiftly, and the rescue team had to travel quite a distance up the flooded road to reach the semi-truck.
“It took about three hours by the time everyone got here and set up,” Cooper said.
Helms said by the time his team arrived on scene some of the water had receded and the firefighters were able to walk both motorists to safety. He said the rescue boat could only go so far because it was obstructed by a guardrail.
“They were able to walk them back out instead of actually putting them in the boat,” Helms said.
He noted his firefighters would have responded quicker, but had to first respond to a fire in Elm Grove. That fire, he noted, turned out to be minor.
Helms said he did not know the names of the flood victims, and he did not know whether the occupant of the car was a man or a woman.
Cooper said his department used ATVs to drive around the area to try and find the best path toward the flooded truck. Cooper noted this is not the first time his department has responded to such incidents, as Captina Creek has a tendency to flood.
In addition to Powhatan and Wheeling, firefighters with Beallsville, Smith Township and Sunset Heights also responded.
Moderate rain combined with melting snow to cause flooding on numerous roadways in the Ohio Valley early Friday. Fire and police officials throughout the region reported flooding along low-lying roads in the Northern Panhandle and Belmont and Jefferson counties in Eastern Ohio.
Colerain Township officials closed Jug Run, Township Road 433, due to flooding Friday morning and said it would remain closed until further notice. The closure is from Belmont County Road 56 to Maynard.
The Ohio Valley also was under a winter storm warning Friday afternoon that was to be in effect through this morning. Freezing rain was expected to be followed by snowfall totaling 5-8 inches. Temperatures were expected to drop into the teens overnight and remain cold throughout the weekend.
A representative from American Electric Power said the company was prepared for the winter weather. Katie Grayem, director of customer experience and communication for AEP Ohio, said AEP had been keeping a close eye on the storm system as it moved toward southeast Ohio and the surrounding areas. Grayem said AEP has meteorologists on staff, helping to make sure that crews wouldn’t be caught unaware in the teeth of the system. The meteorologists on Friday were predicting 1/10 of an inch of ice from the storm, an amount Grayeth should not pose too many problems to electrical lines.
“We definitely have enough crews ready and available on call at this point,” she said.
She added that AEP did not anticipate widespread outages, but in the event that would happen she said the company is prepared to respond.
“We have resources already on hand in case that happens,” Grayeth said.
Grayeth said one way residents can track outages in their area is by visiting aepohio.com/outages, where they can put in their address to see what the power situation in their immediate area is. They can also sign up for email or text alerts that will let them know where outages in the area are located. She added that even though widespread outages aren’t expected, it is never a bad idea to have a winter emergency kit prepared. Such a kit should contain water, a flashlight and fresh batteries, medication and other important items in case of extended loss of power. Residents should also keep neighbors or family members who might be elderly in mind, and try to keep an eye on them in case they would need help. Other than that, Grayeth recommends staying inside and out of harm’s way during the course of the storm.
Heather Ziegler and Dylan McKenzie contributed to this report.