Shocking video from the West Virginia flooding shows a flaming house being carried away by flood waters, just one of countless images of destruction as heavy rains brought flooding that has killed more than 20 people.
The extreme flooding struck across the state and caused Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to declare a state of emergency in 44 counties. The death toll from the floods rose to 23 this weekend as the rising waters led to destruction across the state.
The West Virginia flooding was caused by what experts described as a historic amount of rainfall late in the week.
“The amount of rain that recently fell on parts of West Virginia and southern Virginia exceeded a once-in-a-century event for the specific area and resulted in catastrophic flooding in some communities,” noted AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
“Radar estimates indicated 6 to 10 inches of rain fell on some locations in 24 hours,” he added.
The West Virginia flooding also led to what has become a viral video showing a flaming house being carried away by high flood water.
As Oneida News noted, the scene took place in the state’s hard-hit southern area.
“Record flooding in West Virginia has killed 23 people so far with thousands still stranded and left with washed away houses, roads and vehicles. In one dramatic scene in White Sulphur Springs in the state’s south, the flood waters pushed a burning home down the Howard Creek.”
No one was killed in the flaming home, but across the state, a total of 23 people have been confirmed dead so far.
One of the dead included 4-year-old Edward McMillion, who was swept away by flood waters in Ravenswood, Jackson County. The boy’s disappearance led to a frantic search that ended in heartbreak when his body was discovered on Friday, NBC News reported.
West Virginia flooding brought death, destruction from out of nowhere https://t.co/eCWorqv0jZ
— Tom Flowers (@TomFlowers) June 25, 2016
Another victim was an 8-year-old boy who fell into a creek in Ohio County and carried away by the flood waters. He was pulled out by rescue crews but later died at a hospital.
Many of the state’s rivers, including the Meadow River and Greenbrier River, reached major flood stage on Friday afternoon. The Clendenin area was particularly hard-hit, with Jordan Creek flooding and destroying close to 50 homes.
“The flooding we experienced Thursday and into today is among the worst in a century for some parts of the state,” Gov. Tomblin said. “Our team in the Emergency Operations Center worked through the night and continues to coordinate efforts with local officials today.”
In some areas, rescue crews were shut out entirely by the rising waters, and any rescue operations had to be done by helicopter.
FLOOD EMERGENCY: Clendenin,WV can only be accessed by helicopter. Worst flooding in almost 20 years. Ctsy: Sug Sams pic.twitter.com/m6xZKhRxfY
— Bryan Hughes (@bryanweather) June 23, 2016
And as the swollen rivers continued to rise, they carried dangerous debris that left residents trapped and rescue crews often unable to access them.
“It’s really bad. There’s a raging river,” Alleghany County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Bowser said. “There’s 500-gallon oil tanks and trash cans and gas cans and tree trunks floating down the river where people’s backyards are. You can see people in the second-story windows waiting to be evacuated.”
Though the rain had stopped by Saturday, the clean-up and recovery efforts were expected to be extensive, and there were still thousands of homes and businesses without power.
The family who lived in the house carried away by the West Virginia flooding was able to make it out safely, however. Amanda Carpenter, the woman who took the now viral video of the home being swept away, said they escaped in time and were staying at a friend’s home when the flood waters took their home away.
[Photo by Steve Helber/AP Images]