ELKINS, W.Va. — A Randolph County family had just finished an enjoyable Saturday of fishing and swimming on Dry Fork in Tucker County when they decided to climb into their sleeping bags for the night.
“Just a few hours before we had been able to wade all the way across the creek about knee deep,” said Eddie Lipscomb. “We were all just setting around the fire and there were stars in the sky.”
They had no warning what was coming. Although there was some “heat lightning”, ahead of the rainfall, there was no thunder and the family climbed into their tents and were drifting off to sleep. About 2:15 a.m. Linda Lipscomb was awakened by the sound of thunder, lightning, and breaking sticks.
“It sounded like every tree in the forest fell down. I can’t describe how loud it was. The ground shook and the water was coming up so high, so fast,” she recalled in a conversation with MetroNews.
Linda’s husband Edward was immediately out of their tent and was rounding up his two sons and future daughter-in-law as the rain poured, the creek rose, and trees were crashing all around.
“He was jerking everybody out of the tents, telling them to get up and get out of there. Minutes later the whole bank the tents were set up on was gone along with the tents,” said Linda. “If my husband hadn’t got them out of there when he did, they’d have all been zipped up in their tents and washed away.”
Her son’s pickup truck was already washed away, wedged under a nearby bridge with nothing but the top of the roof visible in the raging, muddy water.
Terrified and unsure of where to go or what to do, the family started moving down the road in the dark. They had only a headlamp to guide them. In the distance Linda explained they could see a light. When they got near it turned out to be a solar light on a camper–which was surrounded by rising water.
“There was rushing water going under this camper clear up past your knees and there were people asleep in there,” she said.
Her husband again, banged on the door to awaken those inside and got them to safety as well.
The ordeal continued until daylight when the rain seemed to subside and the river started to recede. All of the Lipscomb family called it the scariest day of their lives.
“If it hadn’t been for my husband getting everybody up and getting us out of there, my whole family would have been gone,” Linda said.