Flooding caused extensive damage in western Virginia’s Buchanan County following heavy rainfall.

The Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office put out a statement Wednesday afternoon saying that they were responding to flooding throughout their county which began late Tuesday.

Dozens of people are unaccounted for and well over 100 homes have been damaged or destroyed, some buildings swept off their foundations.

“We are currently following up on approximately 40 missing persons as a result of this flood,” according to Chief Deputy Eric Breeding of the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office in a media briefing on Wednesday. No fatalities have been reported.

image

Flooding in Buchanan County, Virginia, on Wednesday.

(Virginia Department of Emergency Management)

Eighteen search and rescue organizations are in the area, according to Breeding.

Deana Kimbrough told WCYB her family gathered at her house when the flooding started.

“We said if it got any higher that we were just going to start heading up in the mountains to try to get safe, but luckily, thank God, we didn’t have to.”

Seth Owens told the station, “We were sitting at this post office over here, and the next thing you know, the house is floating on down through there. We thought it was going to wash off. Two of the houses washed off.”

The worst flooding was in Pilgrims Knob and Whitewood and the surrounding communities.

Bill Chrimes from Virginia’s Department of Emergency Management said, “A lot of roadways are blocked by landslides. Bridges are washed out. It’s going to take time to get that access restored, make contact with everyone and make sure their basic needs are taken care of.”

More than two inches of rain have fallen in the county since early week.

image

Buchanan County also suffered serious flooding damage last year, when the remnants of a hurricane hit the area in August, washing away homes and leaving one person dead.

This week’s flooding was less severe but more widespread, authorities said at the news conference.

Governor Glenn Youngkin issued a statement on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, stating “I am deeply saddened at the devastating news of flooding in Buchanan County. We are making every resource available to help those impacted. While rescue and recovery operations continue, please join me in prayer as we lift up our fellow Virginians impacted by this tragedy.”

A state of emergency has been declared by the Governor to aid with the response and recovery efforts.

Heavy thunderstorms also led to flash flooding Tuesday evening along the Little Pigeon River in eastern Tennessee that prompted the evacuation of more than 400 people from a campground. No injuries were reported in the Tennessee flooding, but vehicles and debris from the Greenbrier Campground were washed downstream by floodwaters, Sevier County Assistant Mayor Perrin Anderson told news outlets.

Portions of this report come from the Associated Press.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

Source