CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – It has now been 35 years since the devastating flood of 1985 impacted West Virginia.
On the morning of November 5th 1985, thousands across West Virginia and surrounding areas woke up to one of the worst natural disasters in the state’s history. Flooding rains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Juan brought up to 10 inches of rain in spots, forcing many rivers and creeks to overflow their banks.
Former WBOY News Director and Weather Forecaster Bob Fulton recalls just how widespread the flooding was.
“The area that was hit was just enormous and it just seems like some sections were inundated more than others,” said Fulton. “But for the most part the whole north central part up into the Potomac Highlands to the Ohio River was just impacted greatly by this.”
Several rivers across the northern half of West Virginia crested 10-15 feet above flood stage. In Philippi, the Tygart River crested at just over 31 feet, 4 feet higher than recorded than any other flooding event. The devastating flooding resulted in 47 fatalities and caused an estimated 580 million dollars worth of damage.
Over 3,500 homes and 180 businesses were destroyed. Towns that were hardest hit were Rowlesburg, Glenville, Marlinton, while Pendelton and Grant counties saw the largest loss of life.
This remains also one of the costliest and deadliest floods in West Virginia history.