Over 40 people are unaccounted for and more than 100 homes have been damaged or destroyed after devastating floods ripped through western Virginia on Wednesday, officials said.
Torrential rain, which began on Tuesday and lasted through early Wednesday morning, caused flash flooding in Buchanan County, as well as widespread power outages and damages to roads and other infrastructure, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said.
The Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office said in a Wednesday afternoon statement that 44 people, including children, in the Whitewood area were “unaccounted for” after their loved ones were unable to immediately get into contact with them.
“This does not mean the person is missing, it means we are attempting to reach and locate the person and check on their wellbeing,” the sheriff’s office said.
No fatalities have been confirmed.
Over 100 homes were damaged or destroyed during flooding, department officials estimated.
Officials said accessing the remote area in the wake of the destruction was thwarting search-and-rescue efforts as many roadways are blocked by landslides and approaches to bridges are washed out.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency in response to the floods.
“We are deeply saddened to learn that another flood has impacted a community still recovering from last year’s flood,” Youngkin said in a statement. “In the wake of the devastation, I want Virginians in Buchanan County to know that we are making every resource available to help those impacted by this storm.”
Last year, one person was killed after serious flooding caused by the remnants of a hurricane washed away homes. This flooding event was less severe, but covered a much larger area, officials told reporters at a news conference.
In eastern Tennessee, severe thunderstorms prompted the evacuation of more than 400 people from a campground on the Little Pigeon River. No injuries were reported in the Tennessee flooding, but vehicles and debris from the Greenbrier Campground were washed downstream by floodwaters, Sevier County Assistant Mayor Perrin Anderson told news outlets.
With Post Wires