An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Memories of the devastating flooding around the state in June and in Cabell County in July may have begun to fade, but the problem of West Virginia’s lack of flood preparedness has not.
The Mountain State is a smaller state in terms of population and size, but it ranks only behind Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri in terms of federal disaster declarations involving flooding, with 48 since the 1960s. The state’s mountainous terrain plays a big part in the number of flooding incidents, but the way the state developed did as well.
“Early villages and towns sprang up at the confluence of streams and rivers to take advantage of those transportation opportunities and the nutrient-rich floodplain,” the state’s 2004 study on flooding explains. “Unknowingly, these early settlers initiated patterns of movement and development that would place countless thousands of West Virginians in harm’s way…