Flooding Safety in the Mountain State

Weather

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – According to the National Weather Service (NWS), flooding kills more people than any other weather event.

The Mountain State is no stranger to flooding, as it is our region’s biggest threat. Most residents of West Virginia are aware of the potential and danger of flooding due to the mountainous terrain throughout the state. 

Clarksburg during the Flood of 1985, Jeff Hanlin

Tucker County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Kevin White says his job is to keep people informed so they can be prepared. He said, “A lot of our communities of course are formed around logging and coal which demanded rivers so a lot of our communities are close to water areas. Of course we are very mountainous terrain, which makes drainage basins.”

There are a few different kinds of flooding: river flooding, flash flooding, and flooding due to snowmelt and West Virginia can see all three types. 

White added, “A problematic time during the spring and fall is when we get a lot of heavy rains and stuff. Of course snowpack. This time of year with April, May, you always have a lot of heavy rain events. I believe some of our top 7 floods were in the months of February, March, and April in Tucker county.”

So, it’s good to be especially prepared during those months but flash flooding can occur at any time, so residents should be prepared always. 

“We always remind our residents and this is something that we push out many times throughout the year, via social media, newspaper, things like that, you should be prepared for 72 hours of self-sustainability at all times,” said White. 

Of course with any weather event, it’s best to have a ready-to-go kit with food and water. 

One of the top things about being prepared is staying up-to-date with the latest weather information by watching the latest forecast on your local news station, following the NWS and local stations on social media, and downloading local news station weather apps.

Clarksburg during the Flood of 1985, Jeff Hanlin

Some counties also have a notification system that sends out alerts to their residents. White said, “We do have a notification system that they’re signed up for, a lot of the residents are, so they would receive a notification through a mass notification system that you know warns them of heavy rains, possible flash flooding, or flooding events . Of course we stay in constant communication with our responders so that the responders also can get the word out to the public.”

White added, “We try to tell them you know if they feel in danger, reach out to a responder and we could always come down, check out their situation.”

And of course, if you are in an emergency situation, call emergency services.

To view the 2021 StormTracker 12 Severe Weather Special in its entirety, please click here.

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