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Roads collapsed, washed out in Paw Paw

Updated Tuesday, June 5

Flooding in small creeks and streams in the Paw Paw area undermined roads, causing several to collapse or develop dangerous sinkholes during Sunday’s flooding. Route 9 into Paw Paw was reportedly covered in large rocks and rubble, mud and water, making it impassable. Bevans Industrial Lane near the American Legion collapsed. Other small lanes and driveways have also been washed out, especially in the area of Woodrow Church into Paw Paw. Highway crews have been working in the area since water receded enough to give them access to Paw Paw.

The entrance to Orchard Lane in Paw Paw was missing on Monday.

Paw Paw council member Betty Jo Henry said Sunday that the road conditions in the town were “unreal.” She had been unable to look at all the roads in town because access then was cut off by large holes, debris, high water and collapsed roadways. By Monday morning, most main roads into Paw Paw were open and repairs were beginning.

Residents in the area report that there was no safe access to Winchester or Cumberland from Paw Paw on Sunday due to the collapse of sections of Route 127 and flooded bridges to the west. Route 127 east of Paw Paw remains closed because sections of it have caved in.

“I’ve lived here for 13 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Henry said. “The road coming down into Paw Paw — it looks like the mountain gave way.”

The Potomac River wasn’t to blame for the flooding. It crested on Monday morning, covering parking lots at the public river access and closing the parking lot at the C&O Canal Paw Paw tunnel.

Small streams and creeks, swollen from recent relentless rains, were unable to drain quickly enough and washed out culverts, ditches and whole sections of road.

On Monday morning, crews from the West Virginia Division of Highways were starting to clear and repair the most damaged sections of the main roads, including Route 9 and Winchester Street.

Henry said the Morgan County Office of Emergency Management asked Mayor Tim Mose to open Paw Paw Town Hall on Sunday to use a response center and assist residents affected by flooding. She said town officials focused on emergency response first, and would rely on Paw Paw fire chief Steve Moreland for a damage assessment.

Water completely covered Route 9 near Paw Paw Schools on Sunday morning. Runoff from town streets poured into a pond along the roadway, then dumped into nearby homes. Henry said she didn’t know how many people had been displaced or had their homes affected by flooding in Paw Paw.

Highway crews were clearing debris and making repairs to Winchester Street in Paw Paw on Monday morning.


  1. Christa Lemons on June 3, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    While 9 is absolutely closed from here we were able to go to Cumberland. Just watch for water running across the roads and possible landslides. I didn’t know what had happened at the Legion…wowza is all I can say. Our area needs much better road beds and the culverts re designed. Come one Governor….we passed the road bond….now we need it here.

    • Sandie Brosh on June 5, 2018 at 7:13 am

      My husband and I were taking the short cut from Cumberland, MD through Paw Paw, WV to get to 522 in Virginia. We could only get to the small gas station / small mart just to the east of the Potomac River. A very nice gentleman who works with the power company advised us to turn around and head back to Cumberland, take 68 to 70, then head down 81 to get to 66 east bound to Manassas, VA, which is where we live.
      He was a life saver. He was right when he said our Jetta that I was driving might make it, but the car my husband was driving would not make it.
      We turned around and headed back to Cumberland. Along the trip we had to drive over an old green colored bridge.
      Passing over it the first time was scary enough because the flood water was almost to the bottom of the bridge. Now we had to go back over the same bridge to get to Cumberland. If water was running across the bridge surface, there was no way I was going to drive over that bridge. Luckily as we approached the bridge the water was not running over it. After my husband got over the bridge, I bursted out into tears.
      We have been taking this short cut on our drive to Wheeling, WV for about 30 years. I have never seen anything like it.
      Just grateful we got home safely and took the gentleman’s advise. Who ever you are out there, you probably saved our lives. Thank you.

  2. Jerry King on June 4, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Does anybody know what the commnity of river ridge looks like i own 1 of the river lots. Off of constant run road

    • Editor on June 5, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      One access road has a washed-out culvert.

    • Bill Snitcher on June 6, 2018 at 10:50 am

      Regarding the River Ridge community, Constant Run Road was closed at least through Monday when I left the area. Water flooded the entire park and was all the way up to the maintenance building. Streams inside the community overflowed their banks in multiple places leaving debris in the road. The newly repaired road surface over a stream at the bottom of Sideling Mountain Trail buckled forcing the 5 – 6′ drainage pipes out of the stream bed and up into the air. On Monday afternoon we got out of the community via the upper gate onto Milo School Road. W Va. State Police told me at the time that Milo School headed toward Nebo Road or Youngblood Road was washed out. We were able to go the other direction on Milo School (headed toward Paw Paw) but the road was badly damaged and partially washed out in spots. Updated information is available through the River Ridge Homeowners Association.

  3. John on June 5, 2018 at 8:56 am

    We left in time. We are up on the mountain overlooking Potomac in the railroad and the last night as it was coming down you could really see the Potomac starting to swell. So by noon the next day we had left and The Creeks were just starting over really come to their limits. The next day I will send pictures of detour Road completely flooded as a river. They safe West Virginia.

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