Published 2005

Most are calling it a "flash flood."

Stinson old timer Arley Metheney said it was the worst he had seen in over 40 years, yesterday's flooding on the upper West Fork.

About thirty reports have been made to Calhoun Control regarding damage to property, starting at Stinson and continuing downstream to Orma.

Rain poured from nearly all the upper West Fork tributaries following a flood warning issued by the National Weather Service in early afternoon.

Several people with rain gages reported four to five inches of rainfall in their narrow valleys, including Mud Fork resident Sue Cosgrove.

Cosgrove said she emptied her rain gage in mid-morning, with one inch and when the spigot turned on in the afternoon it caught four more inches.

"I've never seen anything like it, like someone pulled the plug," she said. "All I could think about was getting down the road and getting my kids off the school bus."

Verla Longfellow said water came through her Stinson Grocery, after getting in several nearby dwellings, some of which belonged to family members.

Several other houses up and down the Fork have been damaged.

"I've been here 25 years, and it was by far the worst flooding," Longfellow said.

The Barbara McCumbers residence just below Minnora got two to three feet of water.

No one was seriously injured and no one died, but a White Oak woman narrowly escaped such a fate when her car was swept away, getting caught on a post or a tree. "It was a really close call," said one of her rescuers.

Earline Thomas said she looked out over the valley from her house perched on a high bank near the Chloe post office and told a neighbor "It's not coming up much yet," but a few minutes later water was everywhere.

Today the challenge is continued rain and thunderstorms in the forecast and the threat of what rainfall could come to the state from hurricane Katrina.

Certainly the ground is rain-soaked on the Fork and all the region.

The NSW map shows Katrina's path moving to the west of the Mountain State, but...

Residents who experienced property damage are being requested to make an initial report to Calhoun Control at 354-9271.

Cleaning supplies for those with flood damage are available at the Upper West Fork Volunteer Fire Dept.

Elderly residents or those who cannot drive to the Fire Dept. can call 655-7491 or 354-9271 arrangements will be made to have supplies delivered.

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