Harman, W.Va. rebuilds after damaging floods

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HARMAN, W.Va. – Giant rocks and fallen trees litter Donald Smith’s yard after Sunday morning’s flood. The underpinning was weathered from the storm, and holes in the lattice expose the damage.

“I did not get a drop of water in the house,” says Smith.

The storm on Sunday morning caused damage to mostly roads and businesses. There are some portions where concrete roads have been displaced. A small bridge near the Harman Fire Department has been swept away. The local school and library down the street from Smith was flooded. Now, the American Red Cross and the Office of Emergency Management are assessing the damage and working with the town to rebuild.

But members of the community have stepped up to help as well. Kevin Chewning, Randolph County Schools Director of Facilities says that people volunteering to help at Harman School had a significant impact on how quickly they were able to clean things up.

“It makes you proud,” said Chewning, “People rally together in times of need.”

Harman School has some drainage and sewage problems and some of the heaters took on water. Mud covered the hallway, which has been mopped, and a significant amount of debris still stands outside. There is hardly any grass in the front lawn. A small garden under the school sign was completely ripped apart except for a lone American flag stayed stuck in the ground. Despite it all, Chewning said the flooding shouldn’t be disruptive.

“If any delays at all, it would be minimum,” said Chewning.

The Harman Fire Department sustained some flood damage as well, but the majority of the mud and damage has been cleaned up. The department has been busy collecting supplies for the community. Many gallons of bleach, disinfectant wipes, trash bags, gloves, and other cleaning supplies have been collected, and people can come to the fire department to collect it if they need it.

The overnight flood that started late Saturday caused 5-7 inches of rain compounded with Gandy Creek and surrounding bodies of water to cause the flooding. Overall, people are glad that the flood damage isn’t as bad as they were expecting.

“At least I have a house to live in,” said Smith, “I was expecting to see [my house] go down the road toward the school.”

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