WVPB Staff, Associated Press Published

Amid State Of Emergency, Floodwaters Force Some W.Va. Students To Spend Night At School

Updated on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023 at 9:30 a.m.

Students spent the night at their West Virginia high school after floodwaters prevented buses from bringing them home, authorities said.

Lincoln County school officials notified parents about the unusual step Thursday night.

“At this point, students are resting and tucked in for the night,” the school district said in a notice posted on its Facebook page and county school district website shortly before midnight.

Initially, schools in Lincoln County were dismissed two hours early on Thursday because of high water. But many roads became impassable, forcing the high schoolers to remain in their building.

Students were given cots, blankets and pillows, and other supplies were being gathered through community members, stores and churches, the statement said. School and central office staff provided supervision. The district did allow parents who could drive to the school on their own to pick up their child. School officials said they would feed the students breakfast Friday and then bring them home.

Classes were called off in Lincoln County and at least eight other counties Friday after storms dumped nearly 3 inches (8 centimeters) of rain in some places. In Kanawha County, the state’s largest, school bus routes were changed or closed because of flooded roads Friday.

Flood warnings continued Friday in several counties in southern and central West Virginia. Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency as the storms rolled through Thursday.

Justice Declares State Of Emergency For W.Va.

Gov. Jim Justice has declared a State of Emergency for all of West Virginia’s 55 counties over concerns from Thursday’s heavy rainfall and thunderstorms.

Creeks and streams have spilled over and roads are closed in numerous counties due to high water and mudslides. 

The latest National Weather Service forecast predicts thunderstorms with heavy rains and strong winds across the majority of the state through late Thursday night and into early Friday morning. 

Justice has directed the West Virginia Emergency Management Division (EMD) to implement the West Virginia Emergency Operations Plan as it relates to flood response. EMD is in contact with local offices of emergency management and state agency partners to assist and respond when help is needed.

The State of Emergency will remain in effect for 30 days, unless terminated by subsequent proclamation. 

Click here to view the State of Emergency.