Remnants of Hurricane Ida flood Upshur County

BUCKHANNON — For the second time this year, Upshur County and surrounding areas experienced large amounts of flash flooding as remnants of Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc in West Virginia on Wednesday.

Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday as a Category 4 storm with winds of 150 miles per hour—one of the strongest storms to hit the region since Hurricane Katrina. Ida has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, the National Hurricane Center said, but continued to dump massive amounts of rain on much of the eastern United States. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 60 mph with higher gusts since Ida made landfall on the anniversary of Katrina, the dangerous Category 3 storm that devastated Louisiana and Mississippi 16 years ago.

With guidance from Upshur County’s Office of Emergency Management, County Commissioners declared a county-wide State of Emergency Wednesday morning due to the impending threats of flooding from Hurricane Ida. This heightened alert included input from the City of Buckhannon, as the county seat of Upshur County.

“Together, we urge all our citizens and business owners to make necessary preparations to protect their lives and property as the effects of Ida continue to threaten our region,” stated Mayor Robert Skinner Wednesday morning as the rain refused to let up. “I encourage our citizens to refrain from traveling as much as possible until the heavy rains pass, and any high waters recede. Please check on your elderly or disabled neighbors, and make certain pets are not in danger of rising waters. If you have an emergency, call 911. City and County first responders will assist you. Walking and/or driving through high water not only endangers you, but also places our first responders at risk. Turn Around. Don’t Drown!”  Mayor Skinner reminded that local officials would work to reopen any flooded streets once conditions were deemed safe.

As the weather conditions improve, any necessary cleanup efforts will begin. Upshur County’s State of Emergency will be lifted when County Commissioners deem it safe to do so. The state-wide State of Emergency will be lifted by Governor Jim Justice.

Results from a Greenbrier flood study suggest three critical findings that are necessary to move toward flood resilient communities: improving drainage infrastructure, particularly culverts, which are typically undersized; improving flood preparedness through education; and improving institutional governance to work on behalf of the communities affected by flooding.

During the coming days, watch for road closures and debris as rain is expected to continue. Some planned events have been cancelled due to inclement weather. Follow The Record Delta on Facebook for notifications about weather conditions, road closures and live coverage of emergent issues.


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