Gov. Jim Justice And Huntington Mayor Discuss Steps For Flood Prevention
Gov. Jim Justice and Huntington Mayor Steve Williams met alongside Four-Pole Creek Monday morning to discuss flood prevention and response.
Justice said that once the damage is assessed, the State needs to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to lessen pressure from flood bottlenecks. “Get these people qualified for FEMA,” he said. “If that's possible.”
Justice and Williams both emphasized that flooding needs to be addressed on the local, county, and state level due to the wide geographical reach of the problem and the high cost of engineering solutions.
“All of us, the mayor, the governor, the house, the Senate, try to do anything and everything we can with dollars that we have available to try to help these folks,” Justice said.
The Four-Pole Creek watershed covers the majority of Huntington and its surrounding areas. A series of county waterways converge into Four-Pole Creek, and bottlenecks starting at the Enslow community, often the site of the city’s worst flooding.
Concrete changes the shape of a watershed, reducing absorption and increasing runoff. Justice and Williams noted that infrastructure must be built in a way that promotes development and prevents overflows.
“We want development all over the state of West Virginia,” Williams said. “In order for us to have the development that we know that we want, that we deserve, we also have to make sure that we have the capacity in place to be able to prepare.”
Justice encouraged West Virginia citizens affected by the flood to document the damage and contact the West Virginia Emergency Management Division at emd.wv.gov.