Flood cleanup, damage assessments underway in eastern Kanawha County

CHELYAN, W.Va. — Residents in eastern Kanawha County started digging out Tuesday as damage assessments from Monday’s storm got underway.

About 100 homes were significantly damaged and nearly six inches of rain fell in the matter of hours, according to Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper.

Kent Carper

Carper called it an “odd weather pattern” that was very localized.

“The creeks are full and the ground is absolutely saturated,” he told MetroNews. “If we have 5-6 inches or 2-3 inches and it sits for a long period of time, we could have a reassurance. We’re taking this as serious as we know how to take it.”

Misty Jarrett, who lives on Slaughters Creek Drive, feared more flooding could be on the way Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m taking it one day at a time, but I hope and pray it don’t rain here,” she said.

The National Weather Service in Charleston has a issued a Flood Watch for Tuesday afternoon and evening where heavy rain is expected to fall on already saturated ground in Kanawha and surrounding counties.

Jarrett said Monday’s high water rose so quickly and wiped out her outdoor screened in room in her backyard situated right next to the creek.

“We watched movies and stuff in it and as you can see, it’s completely destroyed,” she said. “The whole fence is going to need replaced. You can see how high it was (the water) on the block on my house, which is didn’t get in my house thank God.”

Jarrett said her husband were busy clearing out flood debris like many of her neighbors.

“Eventually with us going in and out and our dogs going in and out, we’re going to have to replace the carpets in our house,” she said as she trucked through the mud to show MetroNews the damage.

Not only did the high water damage a number of homes, residents say it was also scary because they lost power for several hours Monday morning. Power poles still hung in the tree branches 24 hours later.

Many personal items were lost, but nothing that couldn’t be replaced, said Steven Slack, of Fields Creek.

“The whole basement — it knocked the door down, five foot of water in there. Everything’s replaceable, but still, our cars are just gone,” he said.

There was a still a good amount of water in and around Slack’s basement. It’s something he and his neighbors have never seen before.

“I haven’t and people who have been here for 30-50 years, they’ve seen a flood, ankle deep maybe, but this was up to your chest,” Slack said.

James Armstrong who also lives along Fields Creek Road had a doctor’s appointment Monday morning and had no way of getting back home because the road was blocked. His mother-in-law was also trapped in her home nearby.

“They wouldn’t let us up here for hours after I came back,” Armstrong said. “My wife’s mother lives right there. She’s 91. She was stuck in there. They had to wheel her all the way out in a wheelchair.”

Armstrong received about eight inches of water inside his home.

Many people said they were heading out the door for school or work when the road became more of a river. Some homes were knocked off their foundations and cars were swept away.

Max Gotlieb, of Winifred Hollow, one of the hardest hit areas, said he had about 6 inches water in his home.

“It’s fairly shocking, harrowing, there’s mud, debris everywhere, houses and trailers have been moved, buildings are down the creek,” Gotlieb said on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

Gotlieb said some local bridges were damaged, but at least the water has started to recede.

Gotlieb was getting ready for work at around 6 a.m. Monday when he received a call from his father-in-law who lives next door about the incoming rain. He said within no time, he looked outside and there was between 6-8 inches of standing water in his home. He said it came as a complete shock.

“There was a literal torrent running off the side of the mountain onto my house and running all of the way down towards the creek, it was shocking, I had never seen anything like it,” said Gotlieb.

He said even his neighbor who had lived there for 70 years had never seen anything of this magnitude, and the situation only got worse the farther down the hallow you went.

Gotlieb said when the power went out that’s when the situation got even scarier, as there was no way of contacting anyone due to not having service or internet and not having a way out.

Kanawha County emergency response teams were beginning to reach some residents in the upper portions of Winifrede Hollow that flooded Monday. The road was washed out on Coopers Hollow and still remained close Tuesday morning.

Several water rescues took place, but fortunately no injuries have been reported. Flooding was also reported along Witcher Creek and Kelley’s Creek.

A State of Emergency remains in effect for Kanawha, Braxton, Calhoun, Clay, and Roane counties.

Forecasters said weather conditions will be much dryer for Wednesday and the rest of this week.

MetroNews reporter Katherine Skeldon contributed to this story.



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