Red Cross Helping Southern W.Va. Flood Victims

By: WSAZ News Staff & The Associated Press Email
By: WSAZ News Staff & The Associated Press Email

Logan Businesses Hard Hit by Flooding

LOGAN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Valley Market has been through a lot over the years, surviving more than 20 floods.

The heavy rains that fell Saturday were no match for the supermarket.

"This is the most devastating one that we have ever had here," Bernie Sidebottom said.  "This was the swan song. Valley Market will not be opening here. Somewhere down the road we hope we'll have another one open."

Sidebottom says his family has wanted to move the store for years, but they just couldn't find an affordable lot or building to lease.

Other business owners in Logan are facing similar issues that keep them in flood-prone areas.

"There's not really that many places to go into this area that's not been hit with water damage," said Jesse Queen, owner of Stereo Video Unlimited.

When the rains hit, he had 7 feet of water in his business.  Outside, there is still mud knee deep.

The county purchased some property that was prone to flooding to keep businesses off of the land. Work was also done to clear out creeks and streams.

Logan County Emergency officials believe if that work had not been done, the flooding could have been worse.

UPDATE 6/21/10
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- More than a thousand homes were affected by flooding in Southern West Virginia.

According to the red cross, 1,021 homes were damaged in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming Counties.

In Logan County, the Red Cross is giving out cleaning supplies and water at the Dream Center in Holden. There is also a kitchen set up at the Verdenville Church of God -- and is providing lunch and dinner.

On Sunday, there were 880 meals served.

You can help flooding victims by giving a financial donation to your local Red Cross office.

UPDATE 6/17/10
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Gov. Joe Manchin is seeking a federal disaster declaration for four counties in southern West Virginia due to recent flooding.

Manchin signed a letter Thursday night asking President Barack Obama to declare a disaster in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties.

The letter seeks assistance both individual and public assistance for homeowners, government agencies and certain nonprofits for emergency work and repairs.

State Homeland Security Chief Jimmy Gianato (Juh Net) says there was an estimated $5 million in flood damage to public infrastructure alone in the four counties.

UPDATE 6/14/10 @ 11 p.m.
HOLDEN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The mud and mess remain for many people in southern West Virginia. Now, they're trying to clean up and move forward.

In the Holden area of Logan County, many homes are a complete loss. Folks there say they've never seen flooding like they had Saturday.

The force of the flood was so strong it moved cars, and the water rose very fast.

"It come through so quick, you couldn't move nothing out of the way or get anything," George Ward says. "It shocks you, you don't know what to say. I just grabbed my wife, and we had to let it happen."

Ward's home had several feet of water inside. On Monday, he was still shoveling inches of mud out of his home.

"This is just like a nightmare," Karen Ward says. "I'm devastated."

Down the road from the Wards' home, Terri Toth-Hoover says her home is a complete loss.

The floor of her home is separating from the walls and all of the carpeting has been removed, but she's counting her blessings.

"The way that water came down through here we could be planning a community funeral," Toth-Hoover says. "But we've all got each other."

Toth-Hoover says she's grateful to everyone who has been trying to help the community recover.

The Office of Emergency Management in Logan County was in the area on Monday afternoon, handing out basic supplies like bleach, water and mops. But the folks in Holden are still in need of many things.

UPDATE 6/13/10 @ 11 p.m.
MAN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Sunday was a day of flood assessment, after two rounds of rain pounded down on southern West Virginia.

One of the hardest hit areas is Logan County, where emergency officials say heavy rains destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses.

Many of the roads are now covered in mud, or water, where the creeks and streams spilled over their banks.

Mudslides seem to be the biggest problem in Man, after Saturday's rain.

In areas off of Route 10 drivers encounter one slide after another, after another.

In Taplin, a mud slide actually knocked a church off of it's foundation and created a huge sink hole along Route 10.

As emergency officials take a look at the damage, director Roger Bryant says there is a silver lining coming with these storms.

"The good news is a lot of the work that we've done in stream restoration and the elevation of homes and actual buy out of homes has saved a lot of money for the taxpayers, it's also saved a lot of homes in Logan County "

A sense of hopelessness is resonating throughout Man, April Goff is feeling it. Her home now looks like a stream runs straight through it.

"I was sitting on my couch and I heard a big boom and all of a sudden water took over," Goff said. "Trees and mud came flooding through here and we got out. I wish it would have just washed my house away to be honest with you."

Another setback for these residents is that the town of Man doesn't have the equipment to deal with the massive clean up that is ahead.

Governor Joe Manchin did declare a state of emergency in Logan, Mingo, McDowell and Wyoming Counties so residents can get the help they need; as a part of that declaration, the National Guard has been activated.

Farther south in Mingo County, residents there are just hardly over the effects of last year's flooding, and December's massive snowfall.

While many residents built up higher, and smarter and were dry this time around, the roads throughout the county are in bad shape; meaning leaving those dry homes is impossible.

Jerod Fletcher is the Mingo County Emergency Services Director and is assessing the damage. "We saw a lot of banks washed out, bridges gone," Fletcher said, "we didn't get a lot of houses this time but it got around a lot of houses...we lost some air conditioners and heat pumps."

Creeks and streams just couldn't handle the water that came pouring down and in turn, that's washing away the roads.

Sunday crews on excavators and bulldozers wasted no time trying to push the water back into what looked like raging rivers. Crews will now look to start digging deeper ditches.

Fletcher said, "A lot of asphalt is missing, lot of banks missing, we have a lot of bank restoration going on again this time as we did the last time."

"We had the flood in May, we had the snow in December and now here it is June and we have more water so we dodged a big bullet in the way of the rain, maybe another 10 minutes that we would have had a whole lot of trouble."

UPDATE 6/13/10 @ 8 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Governor Joe Manchin has completed a tour of flood-ravaged counties in southern West Virginia and says he wants to help residents put their lives back together.

Manchin on Sunday declared a state of emergency in Logan, McDowell, Mingo and Wyoming counties after more than 4 inches of rain fell in some areas starting on Saturday. The declaration allows Manchin to direct state resources to those areas.

Manchin and state Homeland Security Chief Jimmy Gianato toured Mingo, McDowell and Logan counties on Sunday.

Manchin says he saw roads ripped apart, homes torn from their foundations and "it just makes your heart ache."

Gianato says officials will put together a preliminary damage report in the hopes they can request a federal disaster declaration.

UPDATE 6/13/10 @ 1 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Gov. Joe Manchin has issued a State of Emergency for four West Virginia Counties after Saturday's continuous rainfall.

Logan, McDowell, Mingo, and Wyoming Counties are all on the list.

Gov. Manchin has mobilized the West Virginia National Guard, according to a press release from his office. His office says he is expected to visit flood damaged areas Sunday afternoon.

UPDATE 6/12/10 @ 8:42 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Dispatchers say that Route 3 in the Dingess area of Mingo County is closed to traffic.

High water is making it dangerous for people to travel. Dispatchers say if you see high water turn around immediately.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- High water is swallowing parts of southern West Virginia.

In Mingo County, dispatchers say that the Dingess area is the hardest hit. There are reports of water into peoples yards, and into a few homes.

Dispatchers say there are no reports of any people stranded. People are encouraged not to try and drive through the high water.

In Logan County dispatchers say the southern part of the county is the hardest hit. People who have checked out the damage say that streams and hollows are in the worst shape. The rivers don't seem to be as flooded.

According to a dispatcher, West Virginia Department of Highways employees are out in full force surveying the damage. They are also looking for people who might need help.

Logan County residents are encouraged to stay home.

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