Heavy rain in forecast could lead to flooding

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 21, 2003

The ice storm from last weekend is about to be replaced by warmer temperatures, but potentially heavy rainfall this weekend.

Eddie Whitehead, meteorologist with the Charleston, W.Va., office of the National Weather Service said the amount of rain the area will get depends on the track of a low-pressure front that will move through the region tomorrow.

"The low-pressure front is still in the Gulf Coast states and it will move northeast through the night and arrive in the lower Ohio Valley tomorrow afternoon," Whitehead said. "There will be moisture just ahead of the low pressure system."

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Whitehead said the precipitation will be from one-half inch to two inches, depending on how the low-pressure system moves through.

So far this year, the Ironton-Ashland-Huntington area has gotten 5.80 inches of precipitation, which is about 44 hundredths of an inch above normal for this time of year.

"It may seem like we're getting a lot more precipitation than normal because last year was so dry," Whitehead explained.

Meanwhile, utility crews continue working to restore service to areas left without electricity after this past weekend's ice storm. American Electric Power crews expect to have service restored to a majority of customers north of Ironton by this evening. A majority of customers

south of Ironton should have their power re-connected by Saturday. Residents in the Center Street area should have service restored by Sunday. More than 22,000 AEP customers in southern Ohio and Mason County, W.Va., are still without electric service. Approximately 1,606 Lawrence County customers remain in the dark.

Approximately 1,500 Buckeye Rural Electric customers in the nine counties it serves remain without power, Russ Elliot, a spokesman for the company said. However, all substations are back on and crews will not stop working even though it is raining.

The repair work is challenging, Elliot said, because some of the affected areas are flooded and some of the poles are on hillsides.