Eric Douglas Published

Flood Disaster Declarations Approved After Summer Storms


Rains from the middle of July to the middle of August made for the wettest summer on record in West Virginia, spurring flooding and mudslides.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued two disaster declarations to help clean up the mess in McDowell and Fayette counties based on the July 12 and 13 floods and the Aug. 13 and 14 floods respectively.

From July 12 to Aug. 15, the state received up to 200 percent of its normal precipitation and did not see one 24-hour period without rainfall. This led to multiple flooding events.

  • On July 14, Gov. Jim Justice declared a State of Emergency for McDowell County due to significant flooding that damaged more than 75 homes, approximately a dozen bridges and numerous roads throughout the county. 
  • On July 28, Justice declared a State of Emergency for Fayette, Greenbrier, Logan, McDowell, Mingo, and Wyoming counties after severe thunderstorms, heavy rains and high winds caused significant local flooding, downed trees, power outages, disruption to potable water systems, and road blockages. 
  • On Aug.15, Justice declared a State of Emergency for Fayette and Kanawha counties due to significant flooding that damaged more than 100 homes, roads and bridges throughout the counties. 

In October, the Justice administration applied for relief from FEMA based on the damage as a whole instead of a singular flood event. These are the first two declarations from that request.
“Due to the damages incurred by these communities in the wake of the wettest summer on record for West Virginia, supplementary federal assistance is necessary to ensure the protection of life, property, public health, and safety, and to avert the threat of further disaster,” Justice said at the time. “I hope that President Biden and FEMA agree and approve our request quickly.”

Typical disaster declarations are specific to a singular flooding event, but the unique nature of the month-long flooding prompted state officials to request a singular flood designation for all the affected areas.

FEMA announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of West Virginia to supplement local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides.

Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides in McDowell County.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Jeffrey L. Jones has been named the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Damage assessments are continuing in other areas and additional counties may be designated for assistance after the assessments are completed.

Justice requested that the federal government provide Public Assistance and certain Individual Assistance programs to support the state’s response. In addition to addressing the damages and impact outlined in this request, West Virginia is managing eight open federally declared disasters.

For more information on the disaster declaration process, please visit How a Disaster Gets Declared or