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Tug Valley recalls the ‘Great Flood of ‘77’


Williamson Daily News file photo
Williamson Daily News file photo

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. – Thirty seven years ago today, the waters rose quickly as the heavy rains fell from the skies.

No one was truly prepared, nor did they imagine in their wildest dreams that the Tug River would reach levels that covered homes and businesses.

Williamson was devastated, and would never again be the thriving, growing, prosperous place that it once was. The Great Flood of ‘77 forever changed the Tug Valley area.

When the totals came in for the damage caused by the flood, it totaled more than $200 million. More than 2,000 people were left homeless. Following the harsh winter of 1976, the destruction of the flood of 1977 would nearly wipe out dozens of businesses and homes across the Tug Valley. Although a number of businesses reopened after the flood, this event was still considered to be an overpowering blow to some area businesses in the southern coalfields of West Virginia.

The results of a survey conducted by the Daily News in the weeks following the flood revealed that most of the businesses in the area were severely hit, and that very few had any type of insurance to cover their losses. Although several of the businesses in Williamson were considered a total loss, some owners weathered the storm and made the decision to reopen within a few weeks of the flood…

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