‘State of Emergency’

Flooding prompts Randolph County rescues, road closures

The Inter-Mountain photo by Anthony Gaynor Floodwaters inundate the Elkins Flea Market in Crystal Springs Monday afternoon. Officials said some areas of Randolph County experienced flooding worse than the 1985 flood, including Huttonsville, Dailey, Valley Bend, Bowden and Harman.

ELKINS — Flooding prompted 14 water rescues in Randolph County Monday and multiple road closures, as members of the County Commission declared a local “state of emergency” for a period of 72 hours.

Randolph County Office of Emergency Management Director Cindy Hart made a request to commissioners Monday morning asking that a state of emergency be declared based on “fast and furious” flooding that spread into areas that typically don’t experience high water.

Hart said the majority of flooding was located in the southern part of the county,

“We have Huttonsville, Mill Creek, Valley Bend and Dailey that are experiencing water worse than the 1985 flood,” she said. “It’s isolated mostly in the southern part (of the county), but it is also in the Harman area.”

Members of the West Virginia Air Force and Army National Guard were called in to conduct aerial surveillance in the southern part of the county as well as other areas including Bowden. Video footage and photographs were taken by the team and will be examined by Randolph County OEM officials.

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brooke Binns Randolph County Commission President Mike Taylor, right, and Randolph County Office of Emergency Management Director Cindy Hart, second from right, speak with members of the West Virginia Air Force and Army National Guard Monday afternoon about flooding in Randolph County.

Camp Pioneer was serving as a voluntary evacuation location for anyone in the county seeking shelter.

“I don’t foresee a lot of people being evacuated, but we want everyone to have the opportunity to go to a safe location if they feel that they need to,” Hart said. “Anyone in the county who needs shelter, we will provide it for them.”

In addition, volunteer fire departments also can serve as shelters for people in the county, according to Randolph County Commission President Mike Taylor.

“People need to call 911 first — with most of our fire departments being volunteer organizations, they may or may not have someone there,” Hart said. “All they need to do is call 911 and we can alert the fire departments so someone can go to the station.”

The state of emergency took effect starting at 9 a.m. Monday and will be extended past 72 hours if necessary. As of 4 p.m. Monday, Hart reported that 14 rescues had been executed in Randolph County.

Area fire departments and law enforcement officials were on stand-by for any additional rescue situations that may occur.

Randolph County Schools closed three hours early Monday based on the area’s flooding, and the county’s schools are closed again today. Following periods of heavy rain Monday, temperatures dropped and the rain turned to scattered snow showers, which were forecast to continue into today.