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Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Division of Highways

West Virginia Division of Highways cleanup crews were working around the clock last week to clean up debris and plan repairs to roads damaged by flash flooding in McDowell County. On Thursday, Gov. Jim Justice declared a State of Emergency for McDowell County due to the excessive rainfall which caused significant flooding in some areas.

On Thursday, Gov. Jim Justice declared a State of Emergency for McDowell County after July 12 thunderstorms resulted in excessive rainfall, causing significant flooding that damaged more than 75 homes, approximately a dozen bridges, and numerous roads throughout the county.

Just across the state line in Buchanan County, Va., more than 40 people were still unaccounted for Thursday and an estimated 100 homes had been destroyed or severely damaged as a result of the same storm system.

The line of severe storms also resulted in downed trees, power outages, and disruption to some potable water systems across southern West Virginia.

As part of the McDowell County State of Emergency declaration, Gov. Justice directed the West Virginia Emergency Management

Division to implement the West Virginia Emergency Operations Plan as necessary, mobilize appropriate personnel and resources to respond to the emergency, and facilitate the provision of essential emergency services.

The West Virginia Emergency Management Division and the West Virginia Division of Highways responded to the event last week, along with FEMA, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, and local officials to begin the cleanup process, provide necessary repairs, and aid residents in need of assistance.

The State of Emergency remains in effect for 30 days unless terminated by subsequent proclamation.

West Virginia Division of Highways cleanup crews were also working around the clock last week to clean up debris and plan repairs to roads damaged by flash flooding near the communities of Warriormine and Berwind.

“Crews have been out since the storm started, working overnight and into today (July 13), and our engineers are on the ground to begin the assessment process to repair the roads,” said Joe Pack, P.E., state DOH Chief of District Operations.

In McDowell County, the heavy rains created localized flash flooding in the areas of War, Warriormine, and Berwind. Flash floods washed out road shoulders and undermined parts of traffic lanes on Warriormine Road, War Creek Road, Shop Branch Road, Berwind Road, among others.

Floodwaters also washed out a culvert beneath Warriormine Road and a privately owned bridge.

“Our goal is to make repairs as quickly as possible,” Pack said.

Warriormine Road was impassable at the site of the washed-out culvert. Local residents were using Berwind Mountain Road as a detour.

The DOH will replace the washed-out culvert and repair the roads after engineers assess the extent of the damage.

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