Tree branches, leaves and bits of debris were stuck under bridges and wooden benches in the park. Standing water and mud covered just about every walkway and surface, and many areas of the park were cordoned off with yellow caution tape.
Linda Nelson of Leonardtown, Md., had an appointment at the bathhouses this weekend, but Saturday’s storms changed her plans, she said.
“We came down early this morning and it’s just totally under mud,” Nelson said, standing near a pile of ripped-up asphalt that was removed from a damaged entrance bridge into the park.
Steiner, who had been working since 6 a.m. Sunday, said it would be several days, if not a full week, before the facilities and equipment could be repaired and reopened to the public.
The flooding also affected nearby residences and businesses, many with several feet of water in their basements.
Bill Slate, a maintenance worker for Berkeley Springs Investments, was pumping water out of the basement of the Stop & Shop on North Washington Street at about 11 a.m. Sunday.
Slate said there was about 6 feet of water in the basement before they started pumping liquid out with two sump pumps at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday. About 2 feet remained Sunday.
“There’s actually tunnels that go under here that carry this water, and they filled up and just overwhelmed the system,” he said. “Luckily for this place, this basement here is more of a crawlspace. There’s just water meters down there.”
The storm canceled Sunday’s Art in the Park, according to artist/promoter Michael Nathan.
“We called the sheriff’s office and were told the town sewer system was backing up,” Nathan said.
He said he hopes to hold the event Sept. 9 if park officials approve it.
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church canceled Sunday morning’s service due to flooding in the church undercroft. Church member Jim Russell took pictures for insurance purposes before the cleaning crew arrived.
Berkeley Springs business owner Chuck Wheeler said the basements were flooded in his two buildings on Fairfax Street. He said several businesses in town were closed due to flooding, including Tari’s Café on Washington Street, which “was badly flooded and will be closed for a week.”
A shelter was set up Saturday night for displaced residents at Warm Springs Middle School, Close said.
The last time the town flooded this badly was in 1996, Steiner said, but even then it was still 9 or 10 inches lower than Saturday’s flooding.
“It’s the worst flooding I’ve seen in my 15 or 16 years here,” Wheeler said.
After a Sunday meeting of local, state and county officials, Close said the focus is “on assessment.”
Information is still being gathered regarding the storm’s impact to roads, culverts and trash pickup for Berkeley Springs’ restaurants, Close said.
No pollutants were found in the town drinking water because the water department, Berkeley Springs Water Works, shut the plant down, Close said.
Michael will contact the state EMS director to request a damage-assessment team, whose members “go door to door” to assess any damage.
Participating in Sunday’s meeting were Town of Bath Mayor Susan Webster; Del. Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan; and Morgan County Commissioners Close, Brenda Hutchinson and Stacy Dugan.
Jason Pizatela, county liaison to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office, participated by telephone, Close said.
A follow-up meeting will be Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the Morgan County Commission offices at the courthouse.