- The Washington Times - Friday, January 3, 2003

HAGERSTOWN, Md. Rivers and creeks swollen by New Year's Day rain overran their banks yesterday, closing more than a dozen rural roads in Western Maryland.
The National Weather Service predicted flooding along the Potomac River near Shepherdstown, W.Va., last night and issued a coastal flood warning for Delaware.
The flooding, while not severe, made managers of the Monocacy National Battlefield near Frederick wary. They closed a half-mile trail along the Monocacy River and removed some outdoor exhibits at the Civil War site.
"We'll just wait and see what the river's going to do," ranger Tracy Shives said.
Rain continued to drizzle yesterday after pouring 1 to 2 inches of rain across the region Wednesday. The National Weather Service predicted more precipitation today, but said some would fall as ice or snow, forms that are less likely to cause flooding.
"When you have rain, it's going to run off into the streams and creeks. When it's frozen, you're not going to have that much runoff," said Melody Paschetag, a hydrologist for the National Weather Service.
The Monocacy River, a tributary of the Potomac River, reached its 15-foot flood stage in Frederick about noon yesterday, according to the weather service's Web site.
Another Potomac tributary, the Conococheague Creek, was expected to crest yesterday afternoon 1.8 feet above flood stage at Fairview, northwest of Hagerstown, the weather service said.
The Potomac was forecast to exceed its 15-foot flood stage at Shepherdstown last night and continue rising to about 16.5 feet by early this morning. The weather service predicted flooding in low-lying areas between Shepherdstown and Harpers Ferry, W.Va.
That sort of flooding is "relatively routine" and should not cause significant damage to the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, which parallels the Potomac, park Superintendent Douglas Faris said.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources advised people to avoid recreational use of the Potomac River from Cumberland to Little Falls, near the Maryland-D.C.border, through tomorrow.
The weather service also warned residents of coastal Delaware to be alert to flooding during high tides through tomorrow.
On Wednesday, high water caused basement flooding, mudslides and rock slides in parts of Allegany County.
The rain added to the precipitation that has eased Maryland's drought. Since late September, more than a dozen significant storms have brought rain and snow that refilled streams and helped groundwater levels return to normal or near-normal levels across most of the state.


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