Caitlin Tan Published

Flood Simulation Study Helps Southern W.Va. Prepare For Future

Lt. Dennis Feazell, of the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, watches for debris as he and a co-worker search flooded homes in Rainelle, W.Va., Saturday, June 25, 2016.

Flood mitigation efforts continue in southern West Virginia through a grant funded study by Marshall University.

The long-term project focuses on Rainelle in Greenbrier County, which has experienced significant flooding in the past 20 years. The Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] awarded more than $1 million to continue the study.

The research is exploring what kind of infrastructure Rainelle needs to prevent further flooding, which could include a system that transports excess water from the drainage basin into the Meadow River.

The Marshall University civil engineering department began studying flooding in the area in 2004. Through computer modeling they can simulate a flood, which helps the town prepare for resources needed in the case of a real flood. In fact, the department found that the 2004 flood simulation was nearly identical to the 2016 flood, which left five people dead and destroyed over 100 homes in Rainelle. 

With the FEMA grant the team hopes to continue this research and eventually enable the city to install a stormwater management system. 

Correction: This story was updated on 05/07/20 at 7:30 a.m. to correctly identify the name of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.