CHARLESTON, W.Va. –Thousands of West Virginia residents had their Christmas Day plans interrupted with heavy rains that produced flooding.
The National Weather Service issued several flooding warnings as rains produced more than an inch of rain by early afternoon.
Water backed up in several sections of Putnam and Kanawha counties. Places that have never had high water before got it with this storm, residents said. Kanawha County Metro 911 had 98 high water reports and dispatched crews to 31 water rescues between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. There were dozens more rescues in Putnam County.
The state Division of Highways also had to dispatch crews to Interstate 77 near Edens Fork and Interstate 79 near Amma following rock slides.
Numerous water rescues took place in Sissonville, Cross Lanes and Clendenin in Kanawha County and Bill’s Creek, Winfield and various other locations in Putnam County. Twelve residents were rescued from multiple homes on Lotus Drive in Sissonville, Kanawha County emergency officials said.
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning until 5:45 p.m. Friday for northern Lincoln, Wayne, Putnam, Kanawha, Cabell, Roane, southeastern Jackson and southern Mason counties.
The NWS also issued a flood warning until 5 p.m. for Calhoun, Gilmer, Lewis, Clay, Braxton, Upshur and parts of Randolph counties.
The high water made an unsettled Christmas Day for impacted residents and first responders.
“We are always grateful for the first responders that work to assist during emergency calls in our area, but especially today, on Christmas, when many are away from their families, we are thankful that our first responders are taking care of calls and are helping our loved ones,” Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin also thanked first responders on Twitter.