Justice to Declare State of Emergency for Flood-Affected Counties Following Severe Storms
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Sunday, June 30, he will declare a state of emergency for a handful of northeastern counties after severe thunderstorms on Saturday caused flash flooding, knocking homes off their foundations and washing out roads.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for portions of northern and eastern West Virginia after several inches of rain fell rapidly on Saturday night. High water and mudslides forces several roads to be closed, including four-lane U.S. Route 33.
Justice stated his intent to declare an emergency shortly after being briefed of the damage, according to a release from his office. The official declaration will be filed on Monday.
Pendleton, Preston, Randolph and Tucker counties will receive support from the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Mike Todorovich, the release said, in addition to the National Guard. Other counties will be added as necessary.
There were no immediate reports of any deaths or injuries.
In a letter Sunday afternoon, senators and delegates representing the four counties asked Justice to respond quickly to the flooding. An emergency declaration would allow counties to use state resources to respond to flood-hit areas.
“Although it is too early to get a true picture of all the damage and the estimated cost of repairs, it is apparent that it is extensive,” said state Sen. Bill Hamilton, whose multi-county district includes Pendleton and Randolph counties.
“Roads and bridges destroyed, homes, schools, farms and businesses damaged. We respectfully request that Governor Justice declare an emergency so we can get help and funds for the people of these counties.”
The letter indicated residents needing assistance should call their county’s emergency management agency.
According to The Inter-Mountain of Elkins, the Randolph County Commission said in a statement that the flooding knocked homes off their foundations in the Harman, Job and Whitmer area of the state. It added that volunteer fire departments and swift boat rescue crews were sent to assist residents.
“Please keep the people of this area in your thoughts and prayers,” the statement said.