MARIETTA - With the Ohio River having crested below the original estimate by more than a foot, it seems that the Mid-Ohio Valley was left with only a few scrapes and bruises, officials said.
"It went as well as we expected," said Wood County Emergency Management Director Ed Hupp. "I think it helped that the crest was about a foot below the original prediction of about 39 feet."
The river crested Saturday afternoon with a predicted level of 38.1 feet in Parkersburg and 37.6 feet in Marietta, according to the National Weather Service in Charleston.
Flooding in Marietta
In Vienna, residents along Anns Drive were optimistic Saturday afternoon they were going to have very little if any flooding in their homes.
Jason Boley said he began moving items out of the way early.
"We started on Thursday evening," he said. "We moved things upstairs and we stayed at the Blennerhassett Friday night and we will stay there tonight (Saturday)."
Marietta residents Karl and Karen Kumpf look at the high water on Hart Street in Marietta on Saturday morning. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
Boley said the only flood damage he experienced was a lot he owns along the river for a boat dock which was completely submerged.
On Thursday Boley said Dominion Gas shut off gas service and came back Friday to restore service.
"That's a good sign," he said.
Washington County Harvest of Hope executive director Karen Kumpf and her husband, Karl, visited Hart Street behind Don Drumm Stadium and Food 4 Less on Saturday morning to check on the Harvest of Hope Community Garden, which is located along the flood-prone street.
"This is actually going to be very good for our garden because when the water recedes, it will leave the rich silt to help the vegetables," said Karen Kumpf. "The garden has wonderful soil thanks to the floods."
Joyce Betts, of 404 Front St., Marietta, went to the Ohio River Levee to take photos of the high water and ducks and geese that flocked to what was left of the river banks above water.
"My home isn't in trouble, but I have seen a lot of floods, just never come down and gotten personal with them until now," Betts said. "It's interesting to see how quickly the water rises."
Karl Kumpf said looking at the areas that flood first is interesting.
"While I think this is interesting, I really feel for those who are caught in it," he said.
In 2004 a number of structures along the river in Vienna were flooded with up to four feet of water. Roger Schultz, owner of Schultz Automotive, said Friday the shop was almost empty in anticipation of more flooding.
"We moved a lot of things on Thursday and got all the cars out of the way," he said. "We moved office items to the second floor of our building."
Bill Thomas, who also lives along Anns Drive, said he went through the drill when the September 2004 flood put four feet of water in his home. He said he did most of his moving on Thursday as well, adding gas and water services were cut off on Thursday and Friday.
Thomas said moving items to the upper levels of his home went relatively quick due to a lot of help.
"We had a total of 12 people here moving things to the upper levels of the house," he said. "They had six people next door helping. When they were done they asked if we needed help and helped us out. Everything was moved in about three hours."
Thomas said moving everything was good in a way.
"It will make it easier to clean and do painting that needs to be done," he said.
The shelters set up by the Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross in Williamstown's United Methodist Church on Fifth Street and the Camden Avenue Church of Christ in south Parkersburg will close at 10 a.m. today after having no displaced residents ask for aid.
"In West Virginia, most people stay with family and close friends when a disaster happens and few people come and use shelters," said volunteer Clemencia McCready.
According to chapter financial development director Sharon Kesselring, Red Cross volunteers will be out with Emergency Response Vehicles to distribute clean-up kits to homes affected by the flood waters once water recedes.
At the Belpre Civitan Park several people were out taking walks and others spent part of the day in the parking lot near the boat dock to look at the river at its flood stage.
Jacob Cooper, of Belpre, said he has seen the river at very high levels in the past and comes down to the park to take a look.
"It's pretty high," he said. "It's been a while since it's been high."
Cooper, like several others, spent the afternoon watching the river and eating lunch.
Shirley Tennant, of Washington, W.Va., was at Civitan Park taking pictures of the flooding.
"We aren't having any flooding problems where I live," she said, "We were out driving around and decided to stop here and take a look."
Along with the closing of the Red Cross shelters, the Wood County Emergency Operation Center downgraded its services to limited operation starting at 4 p.m. Saturday until 8 a.m. on Monday, Hupp said.
"We always worry when the rivers rise and we have flooding, but this time there were no major incidents and everything has gone smoothly," said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.