2016 Flood

Credit Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Heavy flooding in West Virginia has claimed lives, destroyed thousands of homes and businesses as 10 counties have been declared a federal disaster. Find our complete coverage below including  links to disaster relief and other useful information. 

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

More federal aid is on the way to help West Virginia governments pay for extensive damage done by floods that killed 23 people.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced in a news release Thursday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved public assistance for agencies in 11 counties.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


While the initial disaster response was focused on Greenbrier, Kanawha, and Nicholas counties, it wasn’t long before state officials realized the damage was more widespread.

 

In Clay County, much like the rest of the region, the storms hit Thursday. On Friday, the county got its first shipment of water and National Guard troops, but after that, they were left without much state aid until Saturday afternoon.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


Two weeks after historic flooding in the Kanawha County town of Clendenin destroyed or damaged homes, churches, and even town hall, the people who live there are still working to clear mud and debris from the homes and city streets.

 

There are two donation collection locations set up for the town of about 1,200, one across the street from the damaged post office that's now closed. Workers are handing out mail from a temporary trailer  parked next to a tent full of food and cleaning supplies.

Chris Walters

If you think there’s no longer a need for volunteers or donations for flood victims – state Senator Chris Walters wants to set you straight.

Walters represents the flood-damaged communities of Clendenin and Elkview. Shortly after the flood, he helped set up a staging area for volunteers and donations.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, host Beth Vorhees talks with Adjutant General James Hoyer about the National Guard’s work in the recovery of last month’s devastating floods.  West Virginia Public Broadcasting reporters check in with some of the communities hardest hit to see how they are doing and more from Greene County, Pennsylvania where two men who have lost their mining jobs are helping others find new work. 

Josh Saul / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Businesses affected by the historic flooding two weeks ago have a chance to get some help as they rebuild.

The United States Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance has set up two Business Recovery Centers in Charleston and Maxwelton in Greenbrier County.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead is urging state lawmakers to revisit a more than decade-old flood protection plan to find ways to avoid a repeat of the disaster that killed at least 23 people last month.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Armstead released a statement Tuesday that he wants a "comprehensive review" of the plan to be a focus of study in interim legislative committee meetings.

Tim Nunn / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A sheriff says a body found in Greenbrier County over the weekend has been identified as a woman who had been missing following last month's devastating floods.

Greenbrier County Sheriff Jan Cahill said Wednesday that one of two bodies found Saturday was positively identified as 33-year-old Nataysha Hughes of White Sulphur Springs.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Three people have been arrested for taking donated items while falsely claiming to be flood victims.

Sgt. C.R. Johnson of the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources tells WVVA-TV that a recent anonymous tip lead the department to investigate siblings Eric Stone, Diane Stone and Marcia Stone of Rupert.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter Ken Ward talks with Scott Finn about a state flood plan that’s been ignored for 12 years. And we’ll have the third in a series of special reports about the decline of the coal industry just across West Virginia’s border in Pennsylvania.

These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Downtown Richwood, WV, at dawn after hours of heavy rain flooded the little town.
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Did you know West Virginia has a plan, more than a decade in the making, designed to save lives and prevent damage from floods?

And what if you found out this plan is mostly gathering dust on a shelf?

Rachel Taylor stands on the front porch of her little yellow house in White Sulphur Springs. The front door is pasted with paw prints where her dog tried to get in during the flood.

Across the street, nestled between two battered houses, is an empty lot marked by a cross with an array of flowers and photos. It’s a memorial for a family washed away by the flood.

After the Flood, Emotional Healing Will Take Time

Jul 5, 2016
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Appalachia Health News reporter Kara Lofton looks at the emotional healing after a natural disaster and from Rainelle, Suzanne Higgins reports on the efforts of Marshall University’s mobile medical unit.

These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Suzanne Higgins

The Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine’s mobile medical unit is preparing to return to Huntington after a week’s service in flood-ravaged Rainelle.

“This was our first deployment,” said Charles “Chuck” Clements, M.D., professor of family and community health and faculty advisor for Marshall Medical Outreach, a volunteer-staffed program providing health care to homeless people in downtown Huntington since 2011.

National Weather Service

The National  Weather Service in Charleston has issued various severe weather advisories across West Virginia as the July 4th holiday weekend comes to a close. The warnings follow severe flooding that hit the area nearly two weeks ago, killing 23 people and destroying thousands of homes and businesses.

Floods and Climate Change

Jul 4, 2016
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, Glynis Board talks with experts to find out if last month’s massive flooding was caused by climate change.  And a report from Greene County, Pennsylvania – once the number one coal producing county in the nation, now the outlook is changing.

These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Steve Herber / Associated Press

The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved more than $10 million in individual assistance to West Virginia homeowners and renters following last month's devastating flooding.

Flash Flood Watch Issued for Some Hard-Hit Counties

Jul 3, 2016
National Weather Service

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch on Independence Day in West Virginia. Some of the 21 counties under the watch experienced devastating flooding last month.

The weather service posted the watch from early Monday through early Tuesday, July 5. The watch area covers much of central and northern West Virginia.

The weather service said small streams and creeks would rise quickly if large amounts of rain fall in a few hours.

The worst of last month's floods were mostly in the southern part of the state. Three counties hit hard then and included in the latest watch are Clay, Nicholas and Roane. The two counties where most of the deaths occurred— Greenbrier and Kanawha — are not in the current watch area.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

While Kanawha, Greenbrier and Nicholas counties were initially thought to be the hardest hit in West Virginia, receiving federal disaster declarations some 24 hours after catastrophic flooding, as the waters receded it was clear the damage was more widespread.

In Clay County, officials estimate more than 500 homes were damaged or destroyed leaving at least 500 people displaced. 

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Update, July 4, 2016:

A second body was recovered by rescue workers over the weekend in Greenbrier County, bringing the official death count to 22.

One person is still missing and presumed dead.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Catastrophic floods ravaged southern West Virginia on June 23rd, 2016. As people look to the future, many are debating the role of climate change.

Lots of people who grew up and live in southern West Virginia insist flooding has never been as bad as it is today. Not everyone agrees why. It's likely a combination of forces at work, but how much of a role is climate change playing?

Aaron Shackelford / WVPB

On Thursday June 23, massive flooding swept across most of West Virginia. It began with a rare event- a tornado touched down in Nicholas County, West Virginia on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 21. Regional rain storms followed but nothing like what started to fall throughout a 22-county region on Thursday, June 23.

Nikthestoned / wikimedia Commons

A week after deadly floods ravaged West Virginia, all residents in one of the hardest-hit towns have tap water again. They just can't drink it yet.

In a news release Friday, West Virginia American Water said it has restored tap water to all areas of Clendenin.

Supermarket Shelf
Philrj / wikimedia commons

SNAP clients who lost food in the last week’s flood are getting help.

Anyone in flood affected areas who lost food that was purchased with food stamps can get replacement benefits. The request for replacement food stamps must be made by Tuesday July 22nd.

Kara Lofton/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Philanthropy West Virginia wasn’t always equipped to handle disaster relief. The three-person non-profit organization based in Morgantown works year-round to help philanthropists maximize their impact through their donations, in part by learning from the mistakes and successes of similar organizations across the country.

But as volunteers, hospitals and shelters spring into action in flood-affected areas of the southern part of West Virginia, Philanthropy West Virginia has been working behind the scenes to ensure that donors nationwide know how to best help those recovery efforts.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In Clay County, the process of recovery after June 23 and 24 flooding is just beginning as volunteer firefighters, the American Red Cross and the National Guard continue to pass out food and water and remove potentially hazardous debris from the county.

Philanthropy West Virginia, a three person non-profit based in Morgantown, shifts its focus from its normal work to aiding in flood relief efforts, directing donations to the hardest hit areas.

Flood
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Following flooding in West Virginia that killed 23 people  and ravaged thousands of homes and businesses, Kanawha County is waiving building permit fees in the Elkview and Clendenin areas.

Patrick Morrisey, W. Va. Attorney General
Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office says it's issued subpoenas, written letters and reached out to charities to protect consumers in the wake of devastating floods.

Morrisey's office said in a news release that he directed his office to organize mobile office visits, contact area charities and expedite approval of any emergency state contract related to flood relief.

Adobe Stock

Residents affected by the West Virginia floods may be at higher risk for mold exposure. While common reactions to mold include a cough, congestion, runny nose, and sore throat, more serious complications can develop, including lung infections. People with chronic lung conditions or weakened immune systems may be more susceptible to complications.

Mold likes to grow in damp, wet places – like homes hit during the recent floods in West Virginia.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Update: This story originally aired on NPR on June 26. Since then 10 counties have been declared federal disaster areas and the state of emergency has been lifted for 32. The death count has been updated to 23.

Marsha Larch lived in the same Clendenin, West Virginia, home for 50 years – ever since she got married at the age of 16.

“And I never seen water like this before in my life,” she said.

Pages