20 dead in Virginia floods, worst incident in a century

The mountainous state was pummeled by up to 10 inches of rain on Thursday, causing rivers and streams to overflow.

20 dead in Virginia floods, worst incident in a century.

"The damage is widespread and devastating," Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said at a news conference. "Our biggest challenge continues to be high waters."

A spokeswoman for the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said the state medical examiner had put the death toll at 20. The hardest-hit area was Greenbrier County in the southwestern part of the state, with 15 deaths, she said.

Multiple rivers have risen to dangerous heights, including the Elk River, which reached 32 feet, the highest since 1888, Tomblin said.

Government officials are focusing resources on rescuing those trapped or swept away by the flooding, he said, adding that some 66,000 residences are without power.

The governor declared a state of emergency in 44 of 55 counties and deployed 200 members of the West Virginia National Guard to help rescue efforts on Friday.

Though rivers were expected to crest by Friday night, the rescue and recovery effort is likely to last through the weekend, said Tim Rock, spokesman for the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

"There have been towns that have been completely surrounded by water," Rock said. "People say there is 8 to 9 feet of water in their house.

"It's at least into the hundreds forced to get emergency shelter," he said. "Even if you can get back into your home, who knows what kind of shape it's in."

West Virginia received one-quarter of its annual rainfall in a single day, National Weather Service meteorologist Frank Pereira said. Rains eased on Friday with only scattered showers expected.

The storms that drenched West Virginia were part of a severe weather system that has swept through the U.S. Midwest, triggering tornadoes.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng

Recommended articles

No postponement - PDP vows to proceed with presidential primaries

No postponement - PDP vows to proceed with presidential primaries

PDP primary heavily monetised, Hayatu-Deen laments as he quits presidential race

PDP primary heavily monetised, Hayatu-Deen laments as he quits presidential race

Why Bola Tinubu & Atiku Abubakar cannot be defeated in their parties

Why Bola Tinubu & Atiku Abubakar cannot be defeated in their parties

PDP: Atiku, Saraki, Tambuwal fail to reach consensus; Wike's chances brighter

PDP: Atiku, Saraki, Tambuwal fail to reach consensus; Wike's chances brighter

APC: Election cancelled, party chairman arrested in Lagos for alleged illegality

APC: Election cancelled, party chairman arrested in Lagos for alleged illegality

Katsina APC Governorship aspirant accepts defeat in good faith

Katsina APC Governorship aspirant accepts defeat in good faith

Another PDP presidential aspirant, Hayatu-Deen withdraws from race

Another PDP presidential aspirant, Hayatu-Deen withdraws from race

APC Primaries: Faleke wins Ikeja Federal Constituency seat for 4th term

APC Primaries: Faleke wins Ikeja Federal Constituency seat for 4th term

Senator Folarin beats 2019 flag bearer, others to Oyo APC governorship ticket

Senator Folarin beats 2019 flag bearer, others to Oyo APC governorship ticket