Eric Douglas Published

State Of Emergency Declared For Kanawha, Fayette Counties

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Gov. Jim Justice has declared a State of Emergency for Kanawha and Fayette counties.

Excessive rainfall from Sunday night into early Monday caused significant flooding that damaged more than 100 homes, bridges, and roads throughout the counties.

The storm also resulted in downed trees, power outages, and disruption to potable water systems. More than 20 people had to be rescued from their homes.

Justice directed the West Virginia Emergency Management Division to implement the state’s Emergency Operations Plan as necessary.

West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) crews are assessing and repairing flood damaged areas.

“It’s been a tough six week period,” said Joe Pack, P.E., deputy state highway engineer. “We’ve had one area hit after another, with all the rains we’ve had. Some areas have been hit which don’t typically see high water. For our crews, it has been continuous.”

The community of Smithers was among the hardest hit areas, with several feet of mud covering everything from roads to surrounding areas, making the area difficult to pass through, even for those involved in the clean up.

Fayette County Route 2, Cannelton Hollow Road, between Smithers and Mount Olive Correctional Facility, suffered sixteen significant shoulder washouts plus two partial lane washouts, in addition to a loss of asphalt on the roadway above a box culvert.

A small bridge is washed out on an adjoining roadway. Crews are working to remove debris from the roadway and open drainage systems, while additional heavy equipment crews are mobilized and materials secured to repair the shoulder washouts. Repairs to Cannelton Hollow Road are expected to take several days.

“Crews are assessing damages now,” said Kathy Bowe, disaster coordinator. “More information will be available throughout the day as water recedes and crews can see the damage left behind.”

WV Route 16/39, between Gauley Bridge and Jodie had six significant mudslides. Fayette County crews working from the south and Nicholas County crews working from the north are clearing debris from the road.

Crews anticipate reopening at least one lane of the roadway by nightfall pending additional complications. Clean up will continue into tomorrow once the roadway is reopened.

WV Route 39, in the vicinity of Gauley Bridge, had minor rockfalls and blocked pipes that caused water to run across the road. Crews are clearing the road and opening the culverts.

Fayette County crews were cleaning up debris on widespread areas of Route 60, with some areas of roadway covered by water, including Keifer and Sawyers Crossing.

In the Sissonville area of Kanawha County, Edens Fork Road, Lotus Drive, Northfield Road, Rich Fork Road and Bear Fork Road had some flooding. Of those, Rich Fork Road will require a culvert replacement and damage was present on Bear Fork Road from a flooded culvert on private property. Downed trees were being removed on Sissonville Drive.

In the Elkview area, damages were still being assessed on Greenbrier Street, Keystone Drive and Rutledge Road.

Road closures included Sissonville Drive at Eden’s Fork Road, which is closed, and Goff Mountain Road and Sissonville Drive, which are now reopened.

“When you see high water overtaking a roadway, turn around,” Pack said. “It’s not worth the risk to try to drive through. We’ve seen water wash away asphalt, culverts gone, sinkholes opening up. If you can’t see, then how could you know what’s underneath? Stay safe, be patient, and our crews will have the roads reopened as soon as they’ve accessed and repaired the damage.”

The State of Emergency will remain in effect for 30 days unless halted by the governor.

All 55 West Virginia counties remain under a State of Preparedness declared by the governor on July 26, 2022.

Residents with damages to their homes resulting from flooding on Aug. 15 are asked to complete this survey to report those damages here.

Read Justice’s State of Emergency proclamation.