Releases from the Office of the Governor and W.Va. Legislature:
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The official declaration has been filed for the State of Emergency declared by Gov. Jim Justice on Sunday, following severe flash flooding affected the mountains of east-central West Virginia after heavy rains fell Saturday night.
The counties included in the declaration are Grant, Pendleton, Preston, Tucker, and Randolph.
The Governor has authorized West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Mike Todorovich to support local counties and to use all state resources necessary.
The Governor also directed the West Virginia National Guard to assist. The State Emergency Operations Center has been activated and is coordinating with officials in the declaration area to determine their needs.
Senators and Delegates who represent those counties had urged the Governor to respond quickly to the devastating flooding that swept through that area on Saturday night.
Flooding has caused significant damage in each of the counties, including the destruction of some major roads in and out of the area.
Senators Greg Boso (R-Nicholas), Bill Hamilton (R-Upshur), Randy Smith (R-Tucker), and Dave Sypolt (R-Preston), and Delegates Isaac Sponaugle (D-Pendleton), Cody Thompson (D-Randolph), Bill Hartman (D-Randolph), John Hott (R-Grant), Terri Sypolt (R-Preston), Buck Jennings (R-Preston), and Chris Phillips (R-Barbour) are working together with both state and county emergency response agencies to ensure all citizens get the assistance they need as they begin the cleanup and rebuilding process.
A State of Emergency declaration is necessary to give counties access to state resources for response efforts. Speaking prior to the Governor’s official declaration, several legislators noted the need:
“We are all grateful for the response we’ve seen from the state agencies so far, but as we all know, the process has just begun,” Senator Boso said. “With time of the essence, we are calling on the Governor to promptly respond to this devastating flooding and declare a State of Emergency for these affected areas so we can fully mobilize all state and federal resources available to help.”
“With the extensive damage caused by the flooding, immediate assistance is imperative for the safety and well-being of our communities,” Delegate Thompson said. “We request assistance from any available state resources….”
State resources are critical to help local first responders who will be working overtime, nearly all of them as volunteers, in the coming days.
“It’s vital that the Governor declare a State of Emergency for all of the impacted areas …. so our fellow West Virginians can get the immediate help that they so desperately need,” Delegate Sponaugle said.
The extent of damage from Saturday night’s flooding is unclear, but the need for help is certain.
“Although it is too early to get a true picture of all the damage and the estimated cost of repairs, it is apparent that it is extensive,” Senator Hamilton said. “Roads and bridges destroyed, homes, schools, farms and businesses damaged. ….”
“I appreciate all of the efforts and hard work from the Division of Highways and emergency services during this time of difficulty,” Senator Smith said. “I’m calling on Governor Justice to send immediate help to these areas, especially because they were already experiencing deplorable road conditions before the flood, and the damage has certainly made it worse.”
Residents who need assistance are advised to call their county’s Emergency Management Agency, or 911 in the case of a dangerous of life-threatening situation. Additionally, residents are encouraged to monitor local news and radio for information and alerts.