West Virginia churches cope, help after historic floods

By: Sam Hodges | Posted: June 28, 2016 | Source: The United Methodist Church

The Rev. Scott Ferguson was away on vacation when the floods hit Clendenin, West Virginia, last week. When he finally got a look at the parsonage of Clendenin United Methodist Church, he realized he and his wife wouldn’t be staying there for a while longer.

“We took about three and a half feet of water in our home,” Ferguson said. “Everything downstairs is lost.”

But he’s made progress with mud removal, and he’s determined that he and his congregation will stay the course spiritually during a hard time.

“We just want to make sure God is praised even through the storm,” he said. (more…)

Battered by Storms, West Virginia Struggles to Recover

By: Dan Heyman | Posted: June 26, 2016 | Source: New York Times

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Cole Chapman and his wife, Silvia Gabriel Fields, were having coffee on their deck when a nearby creek suddenly burst its banks, sending them and their two children sprinting to their pickup truck for safety.

“We heard cracking and popping, and a sheet of water just started pouring into the yard,” Mr. Chapman said Saturday night. “It was like something totally exploded.”

Minutes later, their yard submerged beneath gushing, knee-deep water, the family raced over muddy roads to higher ground.

“My son was in the back seat, saying, ‘We’re going to die, we’re going to die,’” Mr. Chapman recalled. “I’m sitting there thinking, ‘I sure hope you’re not right.’” (more…)

Obama Declares Major Disaster In West Virginia After Historic Flooding

West Virginia State Trooper C.S. Hartman walks from a shed that he checked out as he and other crews search homes on Saturday in Rainelle, W.Va. by Steve Helber via AP.

By: Merrit Kennedy | Posted: June 26, 2016 | Source: NPR

President Obama has declared a major disaster in West Virginia after flash flooding left at least 23 people dead and devastated communities.

The historic floods are the worst in a century for portions of the state, the governor has said, and destroyed or seriously damaged at least 100 homes. Water levels reached as high as rooftops in some areas. More than 30,000 people are without power, according to the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. (more…)

Clendenin starts to repair after devastating floods

Photo Credit: Sam Owens, Charleston Gazette-Mail | Taylor Self of Charleston lays pictures out to dry as she takes a break from cleaning Sherry and Kelly Cole’s house, who are her best friend’s parents, in Clendenin, W.Va., on Saturday, June 25, 2016. Self drove from Charleston early Saturday morning once she saw pictures of the damage done by flooding on Sherry Cole’s Facebook page.

By: Jake Jarvis | Posted: June 25, 2016 | Source: WV Gazette-Mail

Sherry Cole just wants to have a clean house again where she can shower.

Mud and water covered absolutely everything in her home on Saturday. It stuck to the floors, the walls, the plates and even the pool table. Volunteers from a church in Parkersburg — absolute strangers to the woman before the flooding — showed up to her home Saturday morning with buckets and shovels, ready to clean anything they could.

Everything left downstairs that hadn’t been washed away by the floodwaters that ripped through the house Thursday night and Friday morning was thrown away. Everything. (more…)

West Virginia Floods: 23 killed, including toddler, as thousands left without power

By: Erik Ortiz, Sean Federico-O’Murchu, Jay Varela and Ben Rappaport | Posted: June 25, 2016 at 8:23 AM EST | Source: NBC News

Huge floods ravaging West Virginia have killed at least 23 people, stranded hundreds and left tens of thousands without power overnight, officials said late Friday.

The threat of pop-up showers and overflowing rivers was still a concern late, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said that search and rescue efforts remained a priority to help people trapped in swamped homes and cars. He said 200 National Guard members have been deployed in eight counties with about 300 more authorized to help with ongoing relief. (more…)

Clendenin, Elkview take brunt of floods in Kanawha

Kathy Bostic sits on a torn roof Friday afternoon as she looks through a muddied plastic tote full of family photographs that she rescued from her home along Jordan Creek Road in Elkview. The totes were sitting in her house as heavy rainfall and flooding hit the Elkview area on Thursday. “Everything else can be replaced,” Bostic said. “Lives can’t and pictures can’t.” See a video at wvgazettemail.com. Photo Credit: Sam Owens | Gazette-Mail photos

By: Daniel Desrochers | Posted: June 24, 2016 | Source: WV Gazette-Mail

Kathy Bostic’s photographs were spread across the roof of her house, which is now where her walkway should have been.

She moved in and out of her house, which had been destroyed by flooding in Jordan Creek, trying to get to her pictures and important papers to see what she could save.

“Everything else can be replaced,” Bostic said. “Lives can’t and pictures can’t.”

After severe flooding devastated all of West Virginia, the state announced Friday that 22 people had died from the weather. But there was no number yet on just how many people have lost everything they owned. (more…)

Clendenin residents describe ‘whole town underwater’

By: Nathan Takitch, WSAZ News Staff | Posted: June 24, 2016 | Source: WSAZ

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?” (more…)

At least 26 dead as historic floods sweep West Virginia

By: Doug Stanglin and Doyle Rice, USA Today | Posted: June 24, 2016 at 10:01 am | Updated: June 25, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Source: USA Today

The bodies of three more victims of West Virginia’s historic flooding were found overnight Saturday, according to county authorities, raising the death toll to 26 from torrential rains and high water that has destroyed more than 100 homes, washed out scores of roads and bridges and knocked out power to tens of thousands of people.

On Saturday, President Obama declared a major disaster for West Virginia and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the counties of Greenbrier, Kanawha and Nicholas.

The Kanawha County sheriff’s office said Saturday that one man was found in a home in the Clendenin area and two females were found in a home along the Elk River. The officials said it is presumed that all three had drowned. (more…)