Flood-ravaged W. Va. bracing for more rain

Published 10:06 am Monday, June 27, 2016

ANSTED, W.Va. — National Guard teams removed debris Monday as authorities in West Virginia prepared for another round of storms in the rain-soaked state where floodwaters have killed at least 25 people in the past week.

West Virginia Emergency Management Agency spokesman Tim Rock said “everybody’s just keeping an eye on the sky” as search and rescue teams continue to check whether everyone is accounted for.

More heavy rains are forecast later in the day. More than 20 counties, most in the southern part of the state, are under a flash flood watch. The National Weather Service warned downpours were possible in many areas already ravaged by flooding, including Kanawha and Nicholas counties. The forecast also included hardest-hit Greenbrier county, where 17 people have died and floodwaters have yet to recede.

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Teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are taking stock of the damage and National Guard crews are removing debris, he said.

Rock said recovery teams plan to work as much as possible but may pull back if storms intensify.

As the next round of storms arrive, many residents are still trying to come to grips with ruined property and where they’ll live next.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin chief of staff Chris Stadelman says authorities still believe there are people missing in Greenbrier County.

On Sunday, dozens of residents from flooded-out Rainelle remained at a shelter more than 25 miles away at the Ansted Baptist Church, where singing from inside mixed with the bustle of activity outside.

The church’s gymnasium has been converted to a shelter. The church also is a drop-off point for donated goods as well as a makeshift kennel for dog owners.