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

Country music star and West Virginia native Brad Paisley toured flood damaged areas of Kanawha County Thursday after committed to help the region recover from catastrophic flooding.

The floods, which left 10 counties named federal disaster areas, killed 23 people and damaged or destroyed thousands of homes. 

Adobe Stock

At least three cases of illness due to carbon monoxide poisoning have been confirmed following the West Virginia floods. Here’s what happened:

After the floods, entire towns lost power for days. Some areas continue to experience widespread power outages. To bridge the gap, many residents turned to gas generators, gas or charcoal grills and camp stoves. But when used in an enclosed space or near an open window, these items can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we look at where we are now – one week since historic flooding devastated parts of West Virginia.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As many West Virginians continue to clean up from last week’s flooding, concerns about theft and looting linger in communities hit hard by the storm. 

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The two tents set up in a grocery store parking lot in Clendenin were overflowing with people waiting for tetanus vaccines Tuesday afternoon. A shipment of about 1,000 had been promised from out of state, but the FedEx truck holding them was held up in Memphis. Health Right, a free clinic based in Charleston, had about 50 to offer.

Summersville Dam, Summersville Lake
Huntington District Facebook Page / U.S Army Corps of Engineers

As storms rolled across West Virginia last Thursday unloading water in areas throughout the state, many of the state’s dams were functioning at high capacity. Aaron Smith is a Senior Project Manager with the Huntington District of the Army Corps of Engineers. He said dams like the Bluestone located in Summers county just upstream from Hinton did their job. 

West Virginia Public Broadcasting will air the “Rebuild West Virginia” telethon to benefit flood recovery efforts on Friday 7 to 9 p.m. on WVPB’s main television channel. It will repeat from 9 to 11 p.m. on The West Virginia Channel.

Appalachian Power says it will pay for electrical inspections necessary to restore power for West Virginia flood victims.

Charleston manager of distribution systems Tom Johnson says the inspection is important to make sure restoring power is safe, even though it may seem like an additional burden for people already going through the aftermath of the storms.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear the latest on the flood relief efforts in the southern and central regions of the state.

We also hear from Jessica Moore, senior geologist with the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, about how the devastating floods last week may not be connected to climate change.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The devastating flood last week displaced not only people, but also many pets. Lots of folks are having a hard time finding a place for their furry friends to stay as they look for a new home. Some Humane Associations in the state are stepping up to do what they can to help – like the Kanawha County Humane Association.

NOAA

    

What role did climate change play in the 2016 West Virginia floods?

Climate scientists say they expect more intense rainstorms, like the one that dumped up to 10 inches on some West Virginia towns.

But Jessica Moore says not so fast. Moore is a senior geologist with the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey. She points to studies showing such extreme rainfall events were more common in our history that you may think. 

Listen to the full discussion on The Front Porch.

Prison Bars
Schavda / wikimedia Commons

  No prisons in the state have been flooding in recent weather events, but high waters have created issues for staff of a few facilities in affected areas.

Lawrence Messina the Assistant Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety said Mount Olive Correctional Complex and the Anthony Correctional Center have staff who are off trying to cope with floods. As a result, the facilities are understaffed.

Sergeant First Class Casey Phalen / WV National Guard

The Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a press release announcing details on how survivors affected by West Virginia flooding can get assistance. Federal disaster assistance for individuals and families can include money for rental assistance, essential home repairs, personal property loss and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

By his estimate, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said thousands of homes have either been destroyed or damaged beyond repair after severe storms rolled through much of southeastern West Virginia Thursday, leaving in its wake some of the worst flooding the state has seen in years.

“No one’s seen anything like this before," House Speaker Tim Armstead said Monday as he waited outside Clendenin Advent Christian Church for Tomblin.

After a press conference, Tomblin toured the church as Pastor Mike Todorovich pointed out the devastation.

Rainelle, Flood
Roxy Todd / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The town of Rainelle, a town of about 1,500 people, was largely evacuated last Thursday because of the flood. Water rose about 5 ft. in parts of the town, damaging businesses, homes, and the library. Fred Fryar was one of the evacuees. He’s the pastor of Sewell Valley Baptist Church. Two days later, he was working on cleaning his home.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Ashton Marra brings us a flood recovery update after Governor Earl Ray Tomblin visited two of the hardest hit communities – Rainelle and Clendenin.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Last week, state health officials warned people about flood waters filled with contaminants, like sewage or gasoline. While they are still urging caution, officials at West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection say the volume of flood water likely diluted the most toxic substances.  

Roxy Todd. WVPB

Norma Henasey came back to West Virginia a few years ago to help take care of her mother. She was staying with her on Thursday when the flood came, and she couldn’t get back into Rainelle to go home. The entire downtown was submerged in water.

Tour W.Va. Communities Hit Hardest By Floods

Jun 27, 2016

Heavy flooding in West Virginia has claimed tens of lives in the state, and Governor Tomblin has declared a state of emergency in 44 of the 55 counties. Use our map to discover some of the communities that were most affected by the storms.

View the Full-Screen version of the map

Jessica Lilly

Recent flooding has ravaged entire towns making it hard to find food, water and cleaning supplies. To aid in flood recovery efforts, donations are pouring into West Virginia from across the state and country.

Ashton Marra

Flooding debris is piling up as waters continue to recede. Mixed in the debris: hazardous materials. An emergency response unit at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is coordinating with the state’s National Guard to deal with flood debris.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from survivors of the flooding that devastated southeastern West Virginia.

While the Federal Emergency Management Agency is providing aid, Kara Lofton reports most of the rescues, cleanup, and support so far has been provided by the local communities.

Greenbier
Bobak Ha'Eri / Wikimedia Commons

The Greenbrier Resort is opening its doors to victims devastated by flooding in West Virginia.

In a statement Saturday evening, the resort said it is offering a limited number of rooms and meals to those with no place to go for as long as the resort is closed for business.

Jessica Lilly

Seventy-five-year-old Carol Holmes lives in Nicholas County, one of the counties hit hardest by the downpours that fell on June 23. Several people have died because of the severe weather. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin called the floods “the worst in a century for some parts of the state.” The Associated Press reports that President Obama spoke to Tomblin by phone Saturday to offer federal assistance and condolences to the people of West Virginia.

This is the second time her home has been flooded in the past 20 years. Listen to her explain why she doesn’t want to leave Richwood. She also explains that tough times are nothing new to her family. She also explains why she's “West Virginia tough.”

whitehouse.gov

President Barack Obama is extending his condolences and those of the nation to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for the lives lost because of flooding.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As of Saturday afternoon, 23 fatalities related to the flooding have been confirmed by state emergency officials after storms rolled into West Virginia early Thursday. Thousands were left without power and several roads rendered impassable.

WVPB's Kara Lofton traveled to northern Kanawha County Saturday and took these images of the flooding damage. For complete coverage of the storms and flooding, follow our ongoing coverage here.

Water line
West Virginia American Water

Updated June 25 at 3:23 p.m.

West Virginia American Water updated its list of potable water tankers where customers can fill containers:

  • Frame Road in Elkview across from the DOH garage
  • Dollar General on Maywood Avenue in Clendenin
  • Smith’s Foodfair in Clendenin
  • Corner of Lizmore Road and River Haven Road, off the Queen Shoals Bridge
  • Keeneys Creek Missionary Baptist Church, in Winona

West Virginia American Water says it has also provided water tankers to the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to provide assistance to the flood-devastated communities of Richwood, Rainelle and White Sulphur Springs. Exact locations are determined by local emergency management.

Heavy rains cause the ground to collapse underneath the Main Street Motors office building in Richwood, WV.
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As many as five fatalities related to the flooding were reported as of midday Friday after storms rolled into West Virginia early Thursday. Thousands were left without power and several roads rendered impassable.

WVPB's Kara Lofton travelled to Richwood on Thursday evening and took these images of the flooding damage. For complete coverage of the storms and flooding, follow our ongoing coverage here.

Dave Mistich and John Cantees provide an update as a state of emergency remains in place for 44 of West Virginia's 55 counties after heavy rainfall has devastated pockets of the state.

Flooding, downed trees and other emergency situations have stalled response in some counties.  

Pages