Randolph County declares local state of emergency

The Inter-Mountain photo by Bayli Helmick Areas in Randolph County are seeing high water, and the Randolph County Commission has declared a local 'state of emergency.'

ELKINS – The Randolph County Commission has declared a local “state of emergency” for a period of 72 hours to ensure the safety of citizens in the county.

Randolph County Office of Emergency Management Director Cindy Hart requested that commissioners call for a state of emergency due to “fast and furious” flooding.

“Reports started coming in just after 8 a.m. of people having more than just the nuisance flooding – this is locations that typically flood with small amounts of rain,” she said. “This has spread into places that typically don’t flood.”

Hart said the majority of flooding is isolated to the southern part of the county but noted other areas are seeing high water.

“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.”

Camp Pioneer will serve 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 will also 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. today and will be extended past 72 hours if necessary.

Area fire departments and law enforcement officials are on stand-by for any rescue situations.

All schools in Randolph County are operating on a three-hour early dismissal.

Hart reported a number of roads in the county are closed including one lane of Becky’s Creek Road, Valley Head Spangler Trust Bridge in Valley Head, Old Pike Road in Montrose, and Backroad – County Routes 37, 38 and 39.