June 24, 2016 – Huge floods devastating West Virginia have killed 23 people including toddler, left tens of thousands household without power overnight and stranded hundreds, officials said late Friday.
The threat of overflowing rivers and pop-up showers was still a concern, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin stated that search and rescue efforts have still remained a priority in order to help residents trapped in cars and swamped homes. Gov. Tomblin said 200 members of Natural Guard have been deployed in 8 counties with about three hundred more authorized individuals to help with ongoing relief operations.
The storm system heavily dumped 9 inches of rain on different parts of West Virginia and trapped at least 500 people in one shopping center for more than a day after a bridge has been washed out. Crews were able to complete a temporary roadway on Friday night and evacuated those people who wanted to leave even though some preferred to stay.
Dozens of other residents had to be rescued or plucked off rooftops as waters rose quickly during the deluge.
The heavy rainfall that lasted 6 to 8 hours urged the National Weather Service to label it as a one in a thousand year event.
Gov. Tomblin pleaded at a news conference asking everyone to continue to support each other and work together as West Virginians always do. In the news conference, he announced the increasing death toll and said that about 100 houses have been damaged.
The Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management of West Virginia announced the death toll had increased from 4 people early Friday to 23 by Friday night.
The search for a missing four years old toddler ended in after rescue officers said they found his body on Friday. The boy, whose name was identified as Edward McMillion, had vanished in Ravenswood’s rising waters, which sits along the Ohio River.
At least 3 other deaths were recorded in Kanawha County, while another occurred in Ohio County, the office of the governor said earlier Friday.
Greenbrier County Sheriff Jan Cahill reported that 2 male dead bodies were also found in their area and called the situation a complete chaos.