Storms dump welcome rainfall with no major problems

·3 min read

Aug. 5—CUMBERLAND — Thursday's band of thunderstorms dumped several inches of rain on the area but apparently without any injuries or road closures in Allegany and Garrett counties.

"The National Weather Service at Sterling indicated western Allegany County got the most rain out of the storm that delivered four to five inches," said Roger Bennett, deputy director of the Allegany County Department of Emergency Services.

The sorely-needed precipitation filled culverts without any reported road closures or major incidents in Maryland's two westernmost counties.

"Our need for rainfall helped us. We had seven storm-related calls that included some flooded basements and downed trees and utility lines," Bennett said.

A severe thunderstorm warning from the National Weather Service was posted for western Allegany County at 2:36 p.m. Flash flood warnings followed a short time later.

In nearby Somerset County, Pennsylvania, mountainside runoff from the downpours caused flooding on state Route 160 in Wellersburg.

"My neighbor measured four inches of rain that fell in two hours. The rain just hovered over Wellersburg and the Kennell's Mill area," Wellersburg resident Jim VanMeter said Friday morning.

The runoff also worked its way into the Wellersburg Volunteer Fire Department's station at 125 Fire House Road.

"We had an inch to an inch and a half of water in the dining room and the kitchen area," VanMeter said. Wellersburg Fire Chief Keith Sturtz directed the response with members there about three hours mopping and cleaning up, according to VanMeter.

The incident, however, will not interfere with the department's popular fried chicken fundraiser that is scheduled to go on as planned Saturday afternoon.

Sections of Route 160 were briefly shut down on the town's main route until a Pennsylvania Department of Transportaton plow truck was used to remove mud and rocks from the two-lane roadway. Maryland State Highway Administration crews were reportedly working Friday in the Barrelville area that adjoins Route 160.

To the west, Garrett County received heavy rain and storms but apparently without any road closures, significant power outages or anything out of the ordinary.

"We got a good bit of rain and we had a heavy load of emergency medical calls, but nothing related to the thunderstorms," said John Frank, director of the Garrett County Department of Emergency Services.

The Potomac Highlands area of nearby West Virginia apparently remained problem-free when storms hit the region.

"We didn't have any incident response relative to storms yesterday. Mineral County did not have any problems big enough that I was even notified," said Luke McKenzie, the county's administrator who also serves as the director of emergency services.

"In fact, I don't even think it rained on the south end of the county," he said.

Additional rain fell Friday, but no problems had been reported by Friday evening, and more storms were in the forecast for Saturday.

Jeff Alderton is a veteran Cumberland Times-News police reporter. To reach him, call/text 304-639-6888, email jlalderton@times-news.com and follow him on Twitter.