More storms forecast for flooded areas of West Virginia
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — More thunderstorms were forecast this week for much of West Virginia, including areas that flooded Monday after up to 5 inches (13 centimeters) of rain fell in some areas, the National Weather Service said.
Storms were expected to develop Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the weather service, but a flood watch was no longer in effect.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency in two southern counties hit by flooding from heavy rains. The declaration in Fayette and Kanawha counties enables the National Guard to respond to hard-hit areas.
Some people had to be rescued by water as the flooding damaged more than 100 homes, bridges and roads, the governor’s office said in a statement. Drinking water systems also were disrupted and more than 2,000 customers lost electricity.
Several feet of mud made roads impassible in the Smithers area along the Fayette-Kanawha county line, the state Division of Highways said.
Crews were working Tuesday to open roads, clear mudslides and repair drainage structures in the area, but it wasn’t easy.
“The area is so saturated that, as they’re clearing away the debris, it’s like working through mud soup.” said District 9 Engineer Jim Moore.
Fayette County resident Georgia Cottrell told WCHS radio the mud, combined with bridge washouts, left her stranded, unable to reach either her job or her home.
Smithers Mayor Anne Cavalier told the station that a lot of homes got water in their first floors and basements.
“I saw cars coming down Smithers Creek. They’re somewhere out in the Kanawha River now,” she said.
Joel Summers in Kanawha County told WCHS the water rose to the third step in his house, leaving a big muddy mess to clean.
“Everything was just floating around, falling over. We just got the refrigerator pulled back up,” he said.
The rain should diminish later in the week. The forecast for Thursday and Friday calls for mostly sunny skies with the possibility of afternoon showers.