The Harman Flood – One Year Later


HARMAN, W.Va. – The early morning hours of June 30, 2019 were a time that many residents of Harman, West Virginia won’t soon forget.

The bridge at Cooper Store in Harman. Courtesy: Jennifer Cutridge

Over the course of three hours, more than three inches of rain fell over northeastern portions of Randolph County leading to multiple mudslides, washed out roads, and water rescues.

Harman Fire Department suffered heavy flooding.

According to the National Weather Service office in Charleston, more than 13 homes were damaged, three of which were rendered uninhabitable.

“It was three hours of a steady downpour. Never in our wildest imagination did we think we would wake up to the devastation that we saw. So it happened, you know the difference. People have compared the Flood of 85 to this flood; the difference is how quickly this one came and went.”

Laura Hawkins, Principal of Harman School in Harman, W. Va.

Built in 1950, Harman School suffered water damage as a result of the flash flood. People immediately reached out to lend the school a helping hand.

Volunteers work to clean the debris and mud at Harman School

“The community response was instant. I was receiving phones calls from my teacher, Patty Teter, and her husband, Jerry Teter, who is a school bus driver and the Mayor of Harman. They were making me aware of it. It wasn’t until daylight that we made our way. We had to travel via a four-wheeler to even get to the school. The roads weren’t passable.

Laura Hawkins, Principal of Harman School in Harman, W. Va.

Luckily for Hawkins and her students, the fast recovery efforts by everyone from the local fire department and the outpouring of support from across the state, the school was able to open its doors on to start the 2019-2020 school year.

“Our elementary school playground still needed some work but other than that, we opened up on time. And that is thanks to efforts of a lot of volunteers and my wonderful custodian Terry Kerns, and just lots of volunteers and time. We were able to open on time.

Laura Hawkins, Principal of Harman School in Harman, W. Va.

One year later, things are nearly back to normal for the Harman area. Hawkins says that it’s the grit of the local community that helped pull the area together not only from the flood, but now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Outside of Harman School after the flood. Courtesy: Jessica Rae Pennington

This community has a lot of grit. They’ve been through a lot because this school, in 2015, the roof collapsed. There were threats to shut down the school, and now a pandemic.

Laura Hawkins, Principal of Harman School in Harman, W. Va.

The storm and flooding displaced concrete in Harman

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