UPDATE: Stores impacted by flood celebrate grand re-opening
Just about a month and a half after flood waters rushed in to store fronts along Main Street in Pomeroy, Ohio, store owners are finally able to get everything cleaned up and back to normal.
“Today we are celebrating,” said Eloise Drenner, owner of Weaving Stitches.
Drenner says during the February 18 flood, her store had about a foot of water inside. It was gone within days, but then the threat for another, more devastating flood was in the forecast and shop owners cleared out even more than what they did the first time. That flood didn’t come to fruition, a sigh of relief to Drenner who says had those high levels actually risen, they’d still be cleaning up.
“That part of it is hard,” said Drenner. “But you're on the river and it's going to happen. But that part is hard.”
During Pomeroy’s “Spring Back” shop local campaign Saturday, dozens of shoppers packed the streets once covered by water, to help revitalize the downtown businesses and help them get financially back to where they were before the river rose.
“I'm just thankful for the community who comes in and wants to help everybody,” said Drenner. “That's why we're still here in business.”
But despite the situation and the river running high Friday and getting close to the roadway, it’s not enough to scare Drenner away from her location.
“I’ve been in business 23 years. It takes a long time to build a business. I love what I do and thankful that I can be here.”
For the second time in less than a week, businesses and homeowners in Pomeroy are clearing out before high water from the Ohio River spills into town.
Most businesses say they haven't even had time to finish cleaning, much less move things back in before hearing the warning of more flooding on the horizon.
"We've been in here with fans and trying to get it dried out enough to bring our merchandise back in when they started sounding the alarm bells, 'Guess what guys, we think it may be coming back,' " said Cathy Cooper.
Cooper and her business partners at The Fabric Shop spent Friday clearing out the rest of the first floor of their shop. They emptied most of it out last Saturday before the first flood, but out of fear that this next flood could be worse, they decided to get it all to higher ground.
The village of Pomeroy is not protected by a floodwall, and the shops along Main Street are the most vulnerable to damage, but despite the fact that they face the potential to see significant damage, Cooper says they're still not being scared away.
"The riverfront here is good the merchants are good," Cooper said. "We've got a nice view of the river. We have people from all over the state and parts of West Virginia that come here ... It won't run us out ."
But it is a sickening feeling Cooper say that this is happening again.
"It is kind of a sick feeling. I was kind of at a low point last night. You're physically exhausted and you're running on adrenaline and on the sunshiny days. It's much easier to be positive but when the rain is coming in. It's getting a little more depressing."
But Cooper isn't alone as several stores are in the same boat of clearing out, and after finishing their store, they move on to help others.
"You can't do this alone," Cooper said. "You really can't ... I was born and raised here, so it's just a really good heartwarming feeling to see all the help that's offered."
Parts of the Meigs County courthouse were also emptied to make sure important documents were safe.
Meigs County is under a Flood Watch until at least Sunday afternoon.
Officials with the Meigs County Emergency Management Agency say anyone in the area who experienced flood damage should contact them at (740) 992-4541, extension 1 or 2. They say if you are not able to speak with a representative, please leave a message and you will be contacted.
The American Red Cross and Pomeroy Merchants Association are still receiving and distributing mops, push brooms, garden hoses, buckets, trash bags, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, sponges, bleach pine sol or similar products and dust masks. The relief center is located at 110 Court Street in Pomeroy and will remain open through February 20.
Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.
The Ohio River at Pomeroy crested on Monday morning at approximately 50.4 feet and the river is now receding at a slow rate.
According to Meigs County Emergency Management Deputy Director Brody Davis, as the water goes down, damage left behind will be monitored as clean up in the area begins.
The agency is working with the American Red Cross and Pomeroy Merchants Association to set up a donation receiving and distribution area, located at Court and Second Street in Pomeroy in front of the Meigs County Courthouse.
Donations being accepted at the location include mops, push brooms, garden hoses, buckets, trash bags, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, sponges, bleach pine sol or similar products and dust masks. Donated items will be distributed to businesses and people who live in the area until an unknown time on Monday evening. The center will then reopen Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.
If you have experienced damage, Davis says you should call the Meigs County Emergency Management Agency at (740) 992-4541. If you do not reach a representative when you call, leave a message and you will be connected with a rep as quickly as possible.
Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.
Flood waters from the Ohio River flooded parts of downtown Pomeroy late Saturday, and flood waters continued to rise Sunday.
Business owner Cathy Cooper came by to check on her store Sunday which had several inches of water taking up the first floor by Sunday morning.
“You get a sick feeling,” said Cooper. “You begin to see dollar signs to be honest. You begin to see dollar signs and what it's going to cost you to get back where you are.”
Just 24 hours prior, Cooper and her partners were emptying their fabric shop in advance of the river rising. Cooper says after seeing the damage, she knows they made the right choice.
“We've had several people say you guys hit the mark, you guys were right on the money, you guys were smart,” said Cooper. “Because there were still people this morning moving out from the backs of their buildings not expecting it to get in to where it has gotten.”
Cooper says she does worry that this isn’t it as more rain is forecast for later in the week, and she’s not sure when they will be able to reopen the store.
“We're wrestling with thoughts now of do we move back in or do we wait it out, because as I understand it, we're supposed to get several more days of rain and it's a sick feeling…Twenty-four hours ago we were in the front of the shop and there was not a drop of water in the streets yet and now this is even more in here than I thought it would be.”
But that sick feeling isn’t enough to scare Cooper and her business partners away from their riverfront location.
“It can be overwhelming, but as we said when you have a business on the river, and you've known this for years, you expect it.”
The rising waters are also causing issues in other parts of the region along the river. Portions of Route 2 in Mason County were closed Sunday because of water making driving impassable.
Route 7 in Lawrence, Gallia, and Meigs Counties was also closed in areas.
The rising waters in the Ohio River has forced several business owners along Main Street in Pomeroy, Ohio to evacuate their businesses as the river creeps closer to the road.
It was a decision the owners at The Fabric Shop say they made Friday after watching the forecast and considering past experiences.
"When they started telling us that the crest was going to be at 49' 1", we know from past history that 48' puts it in our building," said co-owner Cathy Cooper.
It's a plan Cooper says they've had in place since they bought the store about five years ago. Along the walls you can see water marks of past floods, and they knew it could happen again.
"We kind of have known what to expect as far as what we needed," said Cooper. "So we started to get our ducks in a row when we first bought the building and asking 'What's the plan going to be girls?' because it's not a matter of if it floods, it's when it floods.'
But the fact that the river has a history of rising and getting inside businesses isn't scaring owners away.
"When you live in this area, that's what you get," said Karen Walker. "You get floods ever so often and you deal with it and move on."
"It is what it is," said Weaving Stitches owner Eloise Drenner. "Where we're at, it's our choice to be in business here, it's a good place to have business, but this is the down side of it.'
Drenner says she made the call Saturday morning to start moving things to higher ground. She's owned businesses on Main Street for over 20 years and says this could be the fourth time she's been flooded.
"We only have five inches before it gets us, and it's too much of a gamble. I have too much product, too much to move at the last minute so we have just decided to go ahead and not gamble that five inches."
Later in the day, additional rain and snow fell in Pomeroy and the river did spill over into the street.
A flood warning has been issued for the area until Tuesday morning.
Store owners say it could be as late as Tuesday before they are able to get back up and running.