Frigid Valentine's and lingering high water

Chief meteorologist Tony Cavalier says while a skiff of overnight snow can occur anywhere, the big story for Valentine’s Day will be the deep winter chill.

HUNTINGTON/CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) --

  • Frigid Valentine’s Day
  • Kanawha Falls, Ohio Rises
  • Crest Friday night into Saturday

Late Thursday evening, temperatures were tanking from the 30s into the 20s with the arrival of arctic air announced by a brief period of snow flurries. While a skiff of overnight snow can occur anywhere, the big story for Valentine’s Day will be the deep winter chill. Air temperatures will hover in the 20s most of Friday with a fresh arctic blue sky.

Meanwhile hydrologically the main story has shifted away from our small rivers to the Great Kanawha and Mighty Ohio where this week’s rain water is slowly draining through the Ohio basin.

Basically as the Kanawha falls, the Ohio will reach its peak in the Byrd Pool (Gallipolis Ferry north to Pomeroy) on Friday then begin a slow decline this weekend. While Pomeroy has not/will not reach flood stage, downstream starting at Point Pleasant where the Kanawha flushes its water into the main stem, the river was 3’ above flood stage late Thursday night. Any slow rise will be minor overnight into Friday but the river will hold above flood stage through Saturday then show a rapid fall starting Sunday.

Downstream into the Greenup Pool (from Greenup to Huntington) the river was near or above flood stage and due to slowly rise into Friday then hold its crest into Saturday. That level will be 3-4’ below the famous crest of 2018. Lots of backwater issues will occur through Saturday including Barboursville where the Mud and Guyandotte will overflow onto Route 60 at least into Saturday.

With downstream flood walls having been raised in Catlettsburg and Ironton as a precaution, the predicted crest is a few feet below the February 2018 level. Still significant backwater along the Big Sandy will be a nuisance to some people in Catlettsburg.

Meanwhile Portsmouth's gauge had exceed the 50' flood stage on Thursday afternoon. Water had backed into the Scioto bottomlands and was due to stay there through the weekend. Route 239 west near the racetrack was closed and other roads along the Scioto are apt to follow suit.