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Virginia Gov. Declares State of Emergency Following Storm

After a series of severe storms Tuesday caused extreme flooding, Gov. Glenn Youngkin has declared a state of emergency in Buchanan County. Initial reports indicate more than 100 homes were damaged or destroyed.

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(TNS) — Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in response to flooding in Buchanan County after Tuesday evening's severe storms.

Heavy rainfall caused flash flooding along with power outages, impacts to roads and other infrastructure, and "significant resource and operational challenges."

Initial reports from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management indicated more than 100 homes were damaged or destroyed during the flooding.

"We are deeply saddened to learn that another flood has impacted a community still recovering from last year's flood," Youngkin said. "In the wake of the devastation, I want Virginians in Buchanan County to know that we are making every resource available to help those impacted by this storm. As we continue to assess the situation, I want to thank our first responders and the personnel on the ground for providing assistance with our ongoing operations in Buchanan County. While rescue and recovery continues, please join me in prayer as we lift up our fellow Virginians impacted by this tragedy."

The Buchanan County Sheriff's Office said flooding was in the Dismal River Road area that encompasses Dismal River, Patterson, Hale Creek, Pilgrims Knob, Whitewood and Jewell Valley Area.

Roads in these areas are closed to everyone except rescue personnel. Initial assessments reveal "substantial damage" to those areas.

A state of emergency allows the commonwealth to mobilize resources and deploy people and equipment to assist in response and recovery efforts. The declaration also allows officials from Virginia to coordinate the provision of resources with our state and local partners.

The Sheriff's Office is asking that if anyone is missing as part of the flooding, family or friends can go to the Reunification Center at Twin Valley Elementary/Middle School at 9017 Riverside Drive, Oakwood. This school is also serving as an emergency shelter.

Missing persons can also be reported to the Buchanan County Sheriff's Office by calling 833-748-1424.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management was also on scene along with swift water rescue crews.

Multiple fire departments and EMS agencies from the county and throughout the region were assisting, the Sheriff's Office said.

Sheriff John McClanahan asked that everyone avoid these areas so that emergency crews can respond and assist those in need. Only call 911 or the Sheriff's Office if there is an emergency.

The United Way of Southwest Virginia (UWSWVA) was also on the scene.

"AEP ( Appalachian Electric Power) has donated a significant sum to allow us to purchase flashlights, lanterns, coolers and other necessities for those without power," said Travis Staton, UWSWVA president and CEO. " Southwest Virginia is blessed with individuals and organizations that step up in times like this. Even before we could call Food City, for instance, they already had a truck full of bottled water on the way. Southwest Virginians take care of Southwest Virginians."

Anyone wishing to donate to the Buchanan County 2022 Disaster Fund may do so at or by calling Cristie Lester at 276.525.4071.

The flooding also prompted a response from Rep. Morgan Griffith, R- 9th District.

"I am committed to helping the people afflicted by flooding in Buchanan County recover," he said. "My office and I have been monitoring the aftermath of this disaster. While in Washington for votes, I have spoken with Governor Youngkin about the situation, and I have staff at the scene. I will continue to advocate for a response that meets the needs of the area. My heart is with the people of the county and the first-responders on the ground."

Anyone who had property damage in the flood can contact Buchanan County Emergency Management by calling 276-935-5872 to arrange for a property damage assessment. Assessments will be shared with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, which can recommend that the Governor request a federal disaster declaration.

Buchanan County saw major flooding in the Hurley area last year that destroyed several homes and left one person dead.

McDowell County also had flooding issues.

West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH) cleanup were working around the clock to clean up debris and plan repairs to roads damaged by flash flooding near the communities of Warriormine and Berwind.

"Crews have been out since the storm started, working overnight and into today, and our engineers are on the ground to begin the assessment process to repair the roads," said Joe Pack, P.E., WVDOH Chief of District Operations.

Heavy rains on Tuesday created localized flash flooding in the areas of War, Warriormine, and Berwind. Flash floods washed out road shoulders and undermined parts of traffic lanes on Warriormine Road, War Creek Road, Shop Branch Road, Berwind Road, and a few others.

Floodwaters also washed out a culvert beneath Warriormine Road and a privately owned bridge.

"Our goal is to make repairs as quickly as possible," Pack said.

Warriormine Road is currently impassable at the site of the washed-out culvert. Local residents may use Berwind Mountain Road as a detour once water levels go down.

The WVDOH will replace the washed-out culvert and repair the roads after engineers assess the extent of the damage.

©2022 the Bluefield Daily Telegraph (Bluefield, W.Va.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.