Severe flooding in parts of West Virginia has prompted Governor Early Ray Tomblin to declare a state of emergency for 44 counties in the state. Local media are reporting that 2 people have died in the floods and a young child is missing. The flooding has damaged buildings, roads and bridges. Evacuations have been carried out in some areas, and emergency service have carried out dozens of flood rescues.
Initially the worst affected counties were Greenbrier and Nicholas, where Governor Tomblin declared the state of emergency on 23 June. A statement from the Governor’s office said that the “severe storm event has caused rockslides, mudslides, and flooding and has damaged home, businesses, roads and bridges. Certain portions of Nichols and Greenbrier have been rendered inaccessible because of public infrastructure damage.”
Later the state of emergency was expanded to include 44 counties in total. All but the counties in the Northern and Eastern Panhandles in West Virginia have been severely affected and are now under a state of emergency.
2 Dead, 1 Missing
The flooding has left 1 missing and 2 people dead, although the deaths are yet to be confirmed by authorities.
Emergency teams are still searching for a young child who was swept away by flood water in Ravenswood, Jackson County, yesterday.
Local media say that police in Wheeling, Ohio County, have found the body of an 8-year-old boy who fell into Big Wheeling Creek. The boy fell into the creek and was swept away by the fast moving water.
Metro News West Virginia reported that an elderly man drowned in floodwaters near Clendenin, Kanawha County during the evening of 23 June.
The county and in particular the town of Clendenin have been badly hit by the flooding. Kanawha County Commission said:
“Metro 911 has answered over 2,000 calls today. There are 37 active water rescues in Kanawha County currently. A majority of high water reports and rescues have been in the area of Clendenin. All Kanawha County residents should closely monitor streams and creeks for rising water. Impassable roadways and downed power lines have also been reported to Metro 911 today.”
Rivers and Lakes
The Nation Weather Service (NWS) says that the Greenbrier River at Alderson is well above major flood stage (19 feet), with levels standing at 21.96 feet. Levels are expected to fall over the coming hours.
There has been some concern that Summit Lake Dam in Greenbrier County would be breached. West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said that the US Forestry Service has checked the dam and found lake levels to be normal, with no breach or overtopping.
The Gauley River at Camden-on-Gauley stands at a record 29.1 feet. Flood stage is 19 feet. The previous high was 27.38 feet on the 04 July, 1932.
The Elk River at Clay crested at 30.3 feet, the third highest on record. Flood stage is 18 feet. The level has started to recede.
The Elk River at Queen Shoals near Clendenin stands at 32.89 feet, beating the previous high of 32.00 feet from January 1888. Flood stage is 19 feet.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 23, 2016
Search still underway for missing 4-year-old Ravenswood boy swept away in flood water. pic.twitter.com/Lo4Ta3nUSN
— Chris Williams (@ChrisWCHS) June 24, 2016
praying for everyone in the clendenin/elkview area that has lost everything tonight. Especially my family. pic.twitter.com/nrrBWqynwC
— Alyxis Drennen (@AlyxisDrennen98) June 24, 2016
A view of a home in Clendenin from I-79 pic.twitter.com/LTFQnDm0nQ
— Spencer Daily (@Spencer_Daily) June 24, 2016
— Kelsey Hoak (@wsaz_kelsey) June 23, 2016
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) June 24, 2016
— Governor Tomblin (@GovTomblin) June 23, 2016
— Joe Putrelo (@Joe_Putrelo) June 23, 2016
— WOWK 13 News (@WOWK13News) June 23, 2016