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Officials watchful of rainy weather

The Tri-State could receive another rain surge this week, as meteorologists monitor a cold front moving through Ohio.

Tuesday, May 22, 2001

The Tri-State could receive another rain surge this week, as meteorologists monitor a cold front moving through Ohio.

Showers and thunderstorms, some producing heavy rain, were expected today, the beginning of a cool and moist pattern through Friday, forecasters with the National Weather Service said.

By noon Monday, The Huntington-Ashland-Ironton area had already received 4.69 inches of rainfall since May 15, when rainstorms became an almost daily occurrence, said Chris Leonardi, meteorologist with the weather service’s Charleston, W.Va., bureau.

Considering the saturated ground, the threat of flash flooding is still there during the next 24 to 36 hours, Leonardi said.

"We’re just hoping the really heavy storms will miss the areas already hard hit," he said, adding the forecasters will keep a close eye on the storm system.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross’s Huntington, W.Va., chapter is continuing damage assessment visits into Lawrence County.

Teams still could not reach some areas on Sunday, said Seth Staker, director of emergency services for the Red Cross.

But, the organization has opened two cases, identified six residences that suffered water in primary living spaces, and found three to five others affected by floodwaters, Staker said.

The Red Cross will remain watchful because of this week’s predicted storms, considering the ground is saturated, he added.

"We’re holding our breath like everyone else, hoping the rain is not heavy so there’s no additional damage," Staker said. "We hope the creeks continue to recede like they are now."

As of Sunday, Red Cross disaster services in Charleston, W.Va., reported the organization had sent teams of workers – as well as emergency response vehicles – into southern and southwestern portions of the area, including one in Wyoming County, W.Va., Boone County, W.Va., and Lawrence County, Ohio.

Workers served more than 1,200 meals, furnished more than 200 cleanup kits and opened and staffed four shelters during the response, officials said. In addition, more than 140 homes in the two states were identified as affected by floodwaters.

Listen to your local forecast for any flood warnings and watches, then take appropriate precautions, the Red Cross warns.