Glenn Youngkin, the Governor of Virginia, officially declared a state of emergency this past Wednesday due to the devastating flooding that has afflicted Buchanan County and damaged or destroyed well over 100 homes, and has resulted in a total of 40 missing people.
“We are deeply saddened to learn that another flood has impacted a community still recovering from last year’s flood,” stated the Virginia Governor. “While rescue and recovery continue, please join me in prayer as we lift up our fellow Virginians impacted by this tragedy.”
Youngkin officially declared the state of emergency on Tuesday evening so that first responders could assist residents impacted by the extreme rainfall and severe flooding working its way across the Southwest region.
Residents stated to local media outlets that the area looked like one they had never seen before.
Dominick Fragoso stated to WCYB that the water levels managed to get up to knee-high and that he saw the driveway of one of his neighbors just collapse into a nearby creek.
“The roads, if you walk up there, they’re completely destroyed,” explained Fragoso. “Some of them snapped, some slid across other roads.”
The witness also mentioned watching collapse over onto vehicles.
Another resident from the area claimed that she feared that many residents would end up drowning while watching a group of first responders work to rescue a young girl.
“We gathered at my house, and we said if it got any higher that, we were just going to start heading up in the mountains to try to get safe, but luckily, thank God, we didn’t have to,” expressed the resident, Deana Kimbrough, to WCYB.
A collection of drone footage was posted to social media by Billy Bowling which shows the high waters flowing into and around homes across Buchanan county, with some parts being completely impassable as houses flowed were lifted and moved hundreds of yards off of their foundations and into the streets.
“Some of the worst flash flooding I’ve seen occurred overnight in the community of Pilgrims Knob,” explained Bowling. “11’6 FOOT marks on homes.”
Bowling explained the disaster in much more detail to Fox Weather, claiming that the topography of the area consists of tall mountains that dip down into valleys and hollows in which the communities were built.
“They basically become a lake waiting to happen when we have big instances like this,” explained Bowling.
He stated that he understood the gravity of the situation much better from the vantage point.
“At least from where I parked, four homes were completely swept off of their foundations,” he stated. “It was quite devastating to walk around.”
The damage from the flooding impacted roads and other infrastructure across the area along with causing extreme power outages, he explained.
Eric Breeding, the Buchanan County Chief Deputy, explained this past Wednesday that there were no known fatalities, but eighteen search and rescue groups have been spread over the area.
Authorities in the area have taken strides to open up emergency shelters inside local elementary schools for those affected in an effort to reunite family and friends.