CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia National Guard crews are deploying to Logan and Lincoln counties after recent severe storms flooded roads, homes and businesses.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Friday also declared a state of emergency in Logan and Mingo counties after thunderstorms pounded the area, causing rivers and creeks to leave their banks. High water, washouts and rock falls closed roads and bridges. Mudslides also had trapped several people in their vehicles and homes, and, in one instance, left parents unable to reach their children at a local middle school.
"Over the past two days I witnessed people risk their lives to help others as heavy rains fell causing creeks to spill over their banks, flooding homes and businesses," Tomblin said in a statement. "Broken water lines on houses, remnants of roads and high water that continue to prevent safe travel are saddening reminders of the destruction Mother Nature is capable of and the magnitude of the cleanup that remains."
During a Friday special session, the Legislature also approved a $10 million measure that includes funding to help communities recover from recent natural disasters, including Thursday's flooding.
After touring the area, Tomblin, a Logan native, estimated late Thursday that flood waters have damaged about 150 to 200 homes, along with a number of vehicles. Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Logan Campus was flooded, with many cars in the parking lot almost submerged. Water also was reported in the Logan Regional Hospital emergency room.
Officials said Friday that military teams have been sent in to work with local and state authorities to assess the damage and coordinate recovery efforts. They are assessing the situation from the air and the ground. Other efforts include going door to door to check on residents to see if they need food, water, medical care, or other necessities.
West Virginia Adjutant General, Major General James A. Hoyer, called the devastation from the flooding "unspeakable" and said he knew the Guard would need to respond quickly. Crews had been wrapping up storm-related recovery efforts in Wayne County when they were redeployed.
With Friday's declaration, a total of 11 counties are under a state of emergency due to recent storm damage. Those counties are: Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Ritchie, Taylor, Lincoln, Wayne, Logan and Mingo.