MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – On Sunday, June 13 severe thunderstorms rolled through the Morgantown area causing major flooding on Patteson Drive, Beechurst Drive and areas near the Coliseum.
MUB storm water engineer Ken Hacker is one of the local officials trying to figure out exactly what happened and if it can be prevented in the future. On WAJR’s Talk of the Town, Hacker said intense rainfall in the Pocono Run and Borrough’s Run drainage basins caused the issues.
“Anywhere from just over two inches of rain at the lower most end of the drainage basin,” Hacker said,” All the way to nearly five inches of rain in that one event at the upper-most end near Stewart Street.”
As part of the investigation, Hacker spoke to residents in the areas and used data from the National Weather Service to better understand what really happened.
“Reports we were getting from customers were saying that as fast as the water rose it receded and was gone,” Hacker said,” So, that leads you to believe the system was open and functioning and flowing as much capacity as it possibly could.”
Hacker said from eyewitness accounts and analysis they have determined the storm water system operated properly. He adds this is the type of extreme weather event that cannot be planned for.
“We’re finding the system was open, but it was completely overwhelmed,” Hacker said,” We’re not seeing blockages or issues it was just way too much rain.”
In some cases, some old infrastructure is repaired or replaced when MUB conducts normal repair and maintenance operations throughout the city. Still, there are some independent and unmapped storm water system that are encountered by chance.
“You got to think of the age of Morgantown and how long things were able to be built without any kind of regulations, now we’re dealing with it on this end,” Hacker said,” But even at that, with that amount of rainfall it wouldn’t have mattered- in my opinion.”
While acknowledging the drainage issue in the Pocono Run and Borrough’s Run areas Hacker is satisfied the storm water system is working properly.
“The majority of the problems were in this real localized area where these really large amounts of rain fell,” Hacker said,” Outside of that the system handled it as it normally does 99.9-percent of the time.”