A state of emergency has been declared in West Virginia due to weather elements that began last week, as snow and ice that had been hanging around for a while rapidly starting melting over the past three days, causing major flooding in some areas. Today, the region was hit with snowfall up to a foot (and continuing to fall) in localized areas.
The following video showcases the devastation around Cheat Lake, West Virginia, which is known for its tourism and summertime fun. It's looking anything but summery at the moment.
March storms are not particularly uncommon in the Appalachian Mountain region, but are compounded by the fact that most low-lying areas are the most impoverished parts of the state, and the state of West Virginia is one of the most impoverished states in the country, meaning that resources may be more scarce. While Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declaring an emergency does put certain resources in place, such as federal money and the National Guard being deployed, those resources are not available immediately to everyone who needs them.
More environmental problems are being caused because of the wet heavy snow conditions, including a rock and mudslide in Malden, West Virginia, which has currently destroyed approximately 10 homes. Photo depictions of rising water, particularly mobile homes in imminent danger, are being posted all over social media and news outlets.
While the State Emergency declaration means that people should not be out and about on the roads, many employees have no choice but to try to get to work, particularly those involved in public safety, who are needed now more than ever.
In a news release, Governor Tomblin spoke about the plans in place to help the citizens in the threatened areas.
"This precautionary measure allowed both state agencies and West Virginians across the state to gather all resources and supplies necessary to prepare for the inclement weather of Winter Storm Thor. Because severe weather conditions are expected to continue throughout the next few days, I have transitioned that State of Preparedness into a State of Emergency to continue deployment of key resources from the West Virginia National Guard, Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, Department of Transportation and other necessary agencies.As these conditions persist, I continue to encourage you to check on the elderly and your neighbors."
To compound the situation, more flooding is very likely, as temperatures are expected to rise into the 50s and 60s over the next four days, which will cause the heavy snowfall to melt quickly and overwhelm already flooded roads, dams, and low-lying areas.
[photo courtesy Beckley Register-Herald and wchstv.com]