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River Road residents observe impact of weeklong rainfall

By Staff | May 25, 2018

Tabitha Johnston/Chronicle Residents and curious visitors wade through the flooded portion of River Road on Saturday afternoon. The Potomac River was predicted to crest at 18.5 feet in?Shepherdstown according to a report Saturday from Public Information Officer Brandon Vallee.

As the rain slowed down Saturday afternoon, local residents investigated the flooding along the Potomac River and River Road, some with cameras in hand.

Several Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management reports had been sent out over the past few days, monitoring the rainfall and extent of the flooding.

“The Potomac River at Shepherdstown will be in minor flood stage Friday evening and will crest at 18.5 feet Sunday afternoon,” said a Saturday report from Public Information Officer Brandon Vallee. “At this height, water covers the pedestrian bridge adjacent to the Shepherdstown boat ramp. Significant portions of the C&O Canal towpath are flooded.”

Vallee announced a Flood Warning for the Potomac River at Shepherdstown until Monday afternoon, and an Areal Flood Watch for the entire county until Monday morning.

Bakerton mom Jennifer Klenke drove down River Road with her two boys to see how high the flooding had reached.

Tabitha Johnston/Chronicle A “Road Closed” sign warns drivers about the flooded road ahead on River Road on Saturday after the rain.

“If you go around the other side of the road, the river’s not even supposed to be there, it’s crazy. It’s formed into a stream across the road,” Klenke said. “I’m just so thankful none of these houses are destroyed.”

Klenke said an island in Millville Quarry, which is right beside her home, was almost completely submerged by the flooding.

“Right now the water’s up 17 feet. Once you know it’s up at least 14 feet, you know you won’t be able to drive to and from your house. So then you just stock up on food, beer and wine,” said Mike Candis, who waded to and from his house along River Road with his wife and daughter.

Candis parks his truck along Trough Road whenever the flooding happens, so his family can still drive into town. Since the area is often flooded, he said life goes on like normal when it happens, although his daughter occasionally has to get an excused absence from school.

Candis’ father-in-law, Manny Knott, lives a mile up the road from Candis

Tabitha Johnston/Chronicle One side of River Road was flooded as the rain slowed down Saturday afternoon.

“I’ve seen it worse, but it’s inconvenient for a lot of people because of jobs and school,” said Knott.

Because the portion of River Road by Knott’s house wasn’t flooded out, Knott and his wife had welcomed a family from further down the road to stay with them, so they wouldn’t have trouble attending their daughter’s Jefferson High School graduation ceremony Sunday.

“A lot of people don’t understand, that’s about four to five feet deep there,” Knott said as he watched a group of curious locals wade into the flooded road. “There’s a lot of people who are locked in because of the waters.”