Heavy rain from Ida’s remnants causes flooding in central W.Va.

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 7:07 PM EDT
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BRAXTON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Heavy rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused high water and flooding across Braxton County on Wednesday morning.

Water rushed off the hillsides and into towns like Gassaway, Sutton and Flatwoods. It washed out roads and filled creeks and streams beyond their banks.

“I had a joke about my sidewalk, that it was a sluice perfect for a kayak launch,” Gassaway resident Rocky Nutter said. “It was pretty good. There was about eight inches of water going down through there.”

Nutter said lots of large rocks and pieces of the ripped-apart road flowed past his house in the muddy water. The heavy rain woke him up around 4 a.m., and he saw city crews outside on tractors working to clear storm drains.

The Gassaway Fire Department had to lift covers off drains to allow more water to flow into them, Assistant Chief Tom Skeens said. However, that was not enough to keep the road from being torn apart and cutting off access to homes higher up on the road.

“A lot of elderly people and sick people live back in here,” Rick Burrows said as he worked to clear off the road so his mother could get home from the hospital. “If an ambulance or fire truck can’t get back in there, it could be someone’s life at risk.”

“It was probably a class-three rapids,” Burrows said about the water flowing through the middle of Gassaway in the commonly problematic area. He even had to help build a dam in front of his neighbor’s house to prevent it from being flooded out.

Up to 4 inches of rain fell in Braxton County between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. Braxton County Emergency Management Director John Hoffman said no significant damage was reported, and no one was injured.

“We do know that a lot of residential yards was completely flooded over,” Hoffman said. “I mean, it just looked like lakes out in people’s bask yards. Some of the roadways looked like rivers instead of a road.”

Hoffman said the water became a problem across the county around 8 a.m. but receded by the middle of the afternoon when the rain moved out of the area.

Braxton County Schools dismissed all students early on Wednesday due to the severe weather. Superintendent Kathy Hypes said students had to be evacuated from Flatwoods Elementary School after high water flooded the playground. No water got into the school, and everyone was able to get out of the area safely.

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