Justice places 3 counties under state of emergency following flash flooding

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice placed Cabell, Putnam and Roane counties under a state of emergency Saturday following flash flooding that occurred Friday.

Gov. Jim Justice

The state of emergency frees up state resources to help counties in recovery efforts.

According to the governor’s office, the “State Emergency Operations Center is coordinating with officials in the declaration area to determine their needs. This State of Emergency will remain in effect for thirty days unless terminated by subsequent Proclamation.”

Two to four inches of rain fell in parts of Cabell County Friday into Saturday causing massive flooding, downed trees and water rescues, according to the National Weather Service.

NWS Charleston Meteorologist Francis Kredensor told MetroNews Saturday morning it’s no surprise Huntington saw the most high water in the state given its urban terrain.

“The concrete, the roads, the buildings, stuff that doesn’t let water get into the ground, so all of that just rapidly channels immediately into run off. Nothing soaks in. It’s also in a lower lying location so all of the water drains in there,” Kredensor said.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams declared a State of Emergency in his city Friday. Multiple flooding problems were reported in Fourpole Creek.

Ona also saw a few inches of rainfall.

In Milton, a man was swept away by flood waters and died. The body of Denver Edmunds, 63, was recovered at around 6:30 p.m. Friday along Kilgore Creek Road.

The concern heading into Saturday afternoon and evening is that water levels will rise in streams and rivers.

“The flash flooding threat is basically done now, so it’s more about what’s lingering,” Kredensor said. “We’re starting to see larger streams and rivers starting to come up. I would expect a few may get into flood stage where they spill out of their banks and run over some roads.”

The message for drivers if they come across high water is “turn around, don’t drown.”

Gov. Jim Justice issued a State of Preparedness for all 55 counties due to the severe weather. Flood Warnings and Watches were still in effect Saturday morning for Cabell and Wayne counties and also in parts of Calhoun, Lewis and Doddridge counties.

The rain will continue to be light and moderate and then will clear out Saturday afternoon. Highs will be in the 60s. The Mother’s Day forecast looks more promising with Sunday’s highs in the mid to upper 60’s mixed with sunshine.

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