HARMAN, W.Va. — Randolph County Commission President Mark Scott says the weekend storm that hit the eastern part of his county was like a storm out of nowhere.

“We had no warning from the National Weather Service. It’s almost like this storm just popped up over Tucker County, dumped this torrential rain–as much as seven inches in four hours–and as soon as it started, it stopped,” Scott said.

The Randolph County community was dealt the hardest blow with at lease 20 homes damaged, a washed out recently updated sewer system, damage to the local school and significant damage to U.S. Route 33.

Scott, during an appearance Tuesday on MetroNews “Talkline,” said the storm was isolated but devastating.

“Everything beyond the town of Whitmer is fine,” Scott said. “So it’s a very small isolated area, but that much rain in an area that is that steep—it all just ran down into these small communities.”

State Adjutant General Jim Hoyer said damage assessment efforts were full go Tuesday.

“It looks like the primary focus from the state level will be the damage assessments across the counties as well as the support that’s going to be needed in Randolph County. If that changes we’ll be prepared,” Hoyer said Tuesday on “Talkline.”

Three assessment teams started their work Tuesday morning. He said they would visit the five counties under Gov. Jim Justice’s state of emergency declaration. He said Grant County has indicated it can handle its assessment on its own. Other counties under the declaration include Randolph, Pendleton, Tucker and Preston.

There are 12 National Guard personnel working at the Randolph County Office of Emergency Services and three VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) personnel in the flooded area.. Hoyer said debris removal began Tuesday at Harman School.

State Highways Commissioner Jimmy Wriston said there remain some roads closed because of the flood but major progress has been made since Sunday morning. Wriston is crediting stepped up maintenance work that began three months ago for helping to minimalize the damage.

“It’s devastating on our side but it could have been a lot worse,” Wriston said. “The ditching and the drainage work that we’ve done has saved us millions of dollars here.”

The force of the raging water on Dry Fork diverted the river by nearly 150 feet at Harman. Scott said it happened in the same area as the recently updated sewer project.

“When it came off the Allegheny mountain–instead of going through its normal course–it actually diverted off closer to U.S. 33. So that’s where the sewer lines were and it washed those out,” Scott said. “It washed all of the way up to the edge of 33 and in one section outside of town next to the school it actually took the road out.”

With the water came large rocks, Scott said.

“It just takes out whatever is in its path. Buildings that survived the flood of 85 were just taken out by this flood. It’s a major event,” Scott said.

There will likely have to be major work to the sewer system that services Harman. How much and how long that will take won’t be known until full damage assessments are completed.

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