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UPDATE: Clendenin residents describe 'whole town underwater'

(WSAZ)
Published: Jun. 24, 2016 at 11:41 AM EDT
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UPDATE 6/24/16 @ 11:35 p.m.

CLENDENIN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Kanawha County Sheriff's Deputies have opened the exit ramps from Interstate 79 to Clendenin.

Some residents of flood-ravaged Clendenin are making their way out of town Friday night, our crew at the scene reports.

Residents described the whole town as underwater, with floodwaters reaching as high as 34 feet in spots.

Clendenin resident Craig White helped rescue neighbors with a boat, including some nursing home residents.

"We're just trying to help our neighbors," White said. "If we don't watch out for others in the community, who's going to?"

WSAZ also spoke with Eric Perdue. He was stuck inside of a church in Clendenin. He told WSAZ that he was so ready to get out of the floodwaters that he left before the roadways cleared, swimming and climbing to safety.

Perdue says escaping and getting to his family felt like a holiday. "Christmas, maybe a little bit, I don't know ... 16th birthday ... new four-wheeler, exhilarating. I was so glad to see my family," Perdue said.

Neighbors say the road out of town is slick and covered in mud, with debris everywhere.

Keep clicking on WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.


UPDATE 6/24/16 @ 10:55 p.m.

CLENDENIN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Some residents of flood-ravaged Clendenin are making their way out of town Friday night, our crew at the scene reports.

Residents described the whole town as underwater, with floodwaters reaching as high as 34 feet in spots.

Clendenin resident Craig White helped rescue neighbors with a boat, including some nursing home residents.

"We're just trying to help our neighbors," White said. "If we don't watch out for others in the community, who's going to?"

The ramp from Interstate 79 to Clendenin was being monitored late Friday night by the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department because of slippery spots.

It was not open to the overall public.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.


ORIGINAL STORY 6/24/16 @ 11:41 a.m.

CLENDENIN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Crews have been able to finally get access to Clendenin after severe flooding in the area.

CW Sigman with Kanawha County Emergency Management says crews were able to get to the town Friday morning, by going over the mountain.

He says some roads are opening up.

Sigman says some areas became accessible Thursday night. He says they were able to find some people and clear some homes Thursday night.

"There's a lot of just utter devastation and some area, the homes are gone and a lot of areas the homes are covered in water and once the water went down, it's covered in mud, to the point it's very difficult to walk in the yard or streets or anything," Sigman said.

In some locations, Sigman says the creeks have washed out onto the main roadway and you have to have a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to pass by the creek where the sand is so deep.

"It's difficult to get into the places and start clearing the homes and make sure that nobody was left behind." Sigman said.

He says during their search Thursday night, they did find a woman's body in a car that had been swept down a creek. He says they had to call in a swift water team and remove brush and trees to recover her body.

Sigman says the chief of the Clendenin fire department lost his vehicle to the flood waters. He had gone to help on a water rescue call in Nicholas County before the water started rising in Clendenin and the area where he had parked flooded. Sigman says the chief's home also was damaged by the flood, but at this time, do not know how severe that damage is. He says the chief has not slept for several days, but is not giving up in the search and rescue mission.

WSAZ has received several pictures of the flood damage in Clendenin. The Foodfair and Gino's Pizza are both almost completely underwater.

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