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Contact: Pat Slattery
News Releases 2004
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As part of a nationwide program to help communities prepare against the ravages of severe weather, officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office in Pittsburgh, presented Monongalia County, W.V., with a certificate of recognition and signage designating the county as “StormReady” on Feb. 12, 2004. An official ceremony was held at the Emergency Operations Center in Morgantown on the same day.
“StormReady” is a voluntary program that gives communities the skills and education needed to survive severe weather - before and during the event. “StormReady” helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen their local hazardous weather operations by ensuring that they have the tools needed to receive life-saving NWS warnings in the quickest time possible.
According to Rich Kane, warning coordination meteorologist at the Pittsburgh forecast office, “In order to be designated as ‘StormReady,’ Monongalia County enhanced its communications and severe weather awareness infrastructure, meeting or exceeding the established criteria in all six areas. It’s noteworthy that the NWS worked with local emergency management of both Monongalia and Preston Counties to deploy two new NOAA Weather Transmitters in northern West Virginia over the past year. One transmitter is located in Morgantown (KWN-35 broadcasting on a frequency of 162.475 MHz) and the other is located on Gregg Knob in Preston County (KWN-36 broadcasting on a frequency of 163.500 MHz).
Northern West Virginia, and Monongalia County in particular, have had a long history of severe and adverse weather. One of Monongalia County’s primary severe weather threats is from flooding and flash flooding. Some of the more significant past river floods include when the Monongahela River reached 27 feet in Morgantown on Nov. 6, 1985, and when the river rose to between 23 and 24 feet in Morgantown on Aug. 8, 1980, Feb. 19, 2000, and March 5, 1963. Flood stage is 22 feet.
Flash flooding affects the county every year as well. Monongalia County has had over 20 flash flood events since 1996. Some of these events include extensive flooding in Westover, due to three to four inches of rain on May 24 and May 25, 1998; a flash food on July 8, 2003 when 81 structures were damaged and 125 people evacuated; and excessive rainfall of one and an half to two inches per hour on Aug. 27, 2003 that washed out a bridge near Tyrone.
Tornadoes have also occurred in the county including an F3 on June 3, 1980, and two F1 tornadoes on June 16, 1982.
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