Neighborhood recovering after severe flooding damage

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 7:14 PM EDT
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RIPLEY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - After heavy rain moved through our region Thursday night, communities were left working to clean up the damage before another round of rain arrived Friday evening.

Ripley has been one of the hardest-hit areas by flash flooding this week, including a number of water rescues and washed out houses and businesses.

Homes along Clay Lick Road were surrounded by water in just a couple of minutes as the creek overflowed on Thursday. Amy White grabbed her two young children and ran out the back door and up the hill to safety from her brother’s home.

Flooding closes streets in Ripley, enters church

White said the water went 6 feet up on the trampoline behind her house, and the current was strong enough to wash her parked car into a ditch in front of her neighbor’s house down the road. Those cars are now covered in mud, including the roof of her pickup truck.

“The inside of my house is soaked,” White said even after spending hours working to clean up the mess. “We had about a foot of water. There is mud everywhere.”

White’s family has lived in the area for more than 50 years and has never seen flood waters get that high. The water went from her mailbox near the street to her front door in just a couple of minutes.

That’s the same situation Ripley Pentecostal Church is dealing with down the road. Pastor Frank Bounds said the church just got a major renovation and will need to be completely gutted after getting around 5 feet of water inside from Thursday’s storm.

WATCH | Ripley church damaged by flood waters twice

The church building got a few inches of water in it during Wednesday’s heavy rain, but Bounds was able to clean up the damage in a couple of hours. He was finishing up around 8 p.m. Thursday when the storm clouds started to move in, so he went home and watched the water overpower a drainage culvert outside and rush into the building on security cameras.

“It came through like a river,” Bounds said about the water that went up about an inch per minute. “Tore the carpet up, washed the chairs like you see them. Brand new chairs, brand new carpet. They’re all destroyed. You can’t get that floodwater out.”

The floodwater ripped doors off their hinges and created holes in the walls that now have branches sticking out. Bounds couldn’t even estimate how much it will cost to repair the damage and replace the soaked equipment. He decided to not clean up from this storm, yet in fear that more damage could be coming with additional rain in the forecast and the ground still soaked.

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