Flash Floods Strike McDowell County

Last Updated 08-01-2002    

Route 52 Bridge at Landgraff
On Sunday, July 8, 2001 disastrous flash floods struck McDowell and surrounding counties in southern West Virginia. The waters raged down the area's narrow valleys with such force that houses were torn from their foundations and entire communities were devastated. The flooding left more than 1,200 McDowell County residents homeless and damaged an estimated 1,500 structures within the county. Approximately 650 residential and business structures suffered significant damage. The county was declared a federal disaster area. In this region prone to flash floods, this particular episode was called the worst in a century.

Less than ten months later, on May 2, 2002, the region again experienced flash flooding. It appears that the scope and magnitude of the damage caused by the latest round of flooding will exceed that of July 8th. There are seven confirmed deaths in the county. Four people are still missing. The county has again been declared a federal disaster area.

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Virginia Ave.
Relief Auctions
This site is auctioning off items to benefit the victims of the flooding. Net proceeds go to local organizations providing direct assistance to victims. Visit the GHS Flood Relief Auctions Page for details.
Local Relief Organizations
The following list has been taken from the McDowell County GenWeb site maintained by David Grubb.

McDowell Mission
PO Box 746
Gary, WV 24836
304 448-2227
Mission Ministries
PO Box 1011
Welch, WV 24801
304 436-4092
Highland Education Project (HEP)
PO Box 580
Northfork, WV 24868
304 862-2545
The Council of the Southern Mountains
PO Box 158
Wilcoe, WV 24895
304 448-2118
James Eubanks
Heather Murrell
Five Loaves and Two Fishes Food Bank, Inc. PO Box 297
Roderfield, WV 24881
304 436-6644
King Pharmaceutical Disaster Services
304 585-7295
Contact: John Reed
Big Creek People in Action
HC 32, Box 541
Caretta, WV 24821
304 875-3418
Contact: Franki Rutherford
Hensley Assembly of God
PO Box 98
Hensley, WV 24843
Gene Thorn 304 682-8633
Philip Lucion 304 656-7314
Cooperative Action Program of Southern McDowell County
Box 134
Panther, WV
304 938-3199 Contacts:
Ernest Leonard
Teresa Matney
Catholic Community Services
PO Box 162
Eckman, WV 24829
304 862-3318
Mustard Seeds and Mountains
PO Box 686
Northfork, WV 24868
304 862-4643
Contact: Randy Wallace
Books for Flooded Appalachia
c/o Rhonda Lane Phillips
PO Box 11102
Blacksburg, VA 24062

From the Red Cross
Flash Floods and Mountain Towns: WV Disaster Relief Continues    07-13-2001
West Va. Mountain Towns Face Long Recovery    07-12-2001
Flooded West Virginia Towns Heaped in Mud    07-10-2001
Red Cross Responds to Flooding in W. Va.    07-09-2001
Each of the above articles explains how you can contribute to Red Cross disaster relief efforts.
Complete WV Disaster Coverage, May, 2002   
President Declares Major Disaster for West Virginia Flood Victims   
Complete WV Disaster Coverage, July, 2001   
From the Bluefield Daily Telegraph
'Muddy Water' Sets Pain, Perseverance of McDowell to Music    08-01-2002
DEP Strives to Reclaim More Than Land in Gary    08-01-2002
McDowell Facilities Get Back-to-School Makeovers    07-28-2002
McDowell Fair Shifts Focus from Flood to Fun    07-16-2002
McDowell County Library Opens New Chapter in Region's Recovery    07-16-2002
Dual Flood Damages Top $95.9 Million    07-15-2002
Officials Move to Reclaim McDowell Waterways    07-10-2002
McDowell Looks Back on Year of Tragedy and Triumph    07-09-2002
McDowell Plans Tribute to Flood Victims, Survivors    07-05-2002
Federal Flood Recovery Funding Tops $26.5 Million    06-25-2002
Homer Hickam Works to Help Hometown Recover    06-24-2002
Colorado Visitors Join Flood Recovery Efforts    06-18-2002
FEMA Answers Victims' Concerns    06-16-2002
Kimball Couple's Legacy Remains in Three Young Hearts    06-16-2002
Keystone Flooding Topic of Meeting    06-14-2002
DEP: Timber, Coal Operations Contributed to WV Flooding    06-12-2002
Flood Victims not Surprised by DEP Report    06-12-2002
FEMA Introduces Flood Buyout Plan    06-04-2002
Welch Library Struggles to Rebuild Resources after Flood    06-02-2002
Unique Emergency Supplies Arrive in McDowell County    06-02-2002
McDowell Students Head Back to School    05-31-2002
Project Recovery Helps Flood Victims    05-31-2002
Demolition Date Nears for Condemned Buildings    05-23-2002
Guardsmen Reflect on Fallen Comrade    05-22-2002
Elkridge Residents Face Rough Road to Recovery    05-22-2002
Faces of the Flood    05-20-2002
Cleanup Continues in McDowell    05-19-2002
Teams Condemn First of McDowell's Flood-Ravaged Structures    05-16-2002
McDowell Schools Closed    05-14-2002
Flood-Control Project Expected to Begin Soon For McDowell County    05-14-2002
Flood Victims Continue to Dig Out in McDowell    05-13-2002
Death Toll Rises by One; Stories of Heroism Emerge in Coalfields    05-12-2002
Search and Rescue Contines in McDowell    05-12-2002
Elections in Midst of Destruction    05-12-2002
McDowell County Landmark Survives May 2 High Water    05-11-2002
McDowell School Prognosis "Isn't Good"    05-10-2002
Workers Fight to Keep Environmental Disaster From Taking a Human Toll    05-10-2002
Road Damage Estimates Top $11 Million    05-10-2002
Rescue Workers Won't Quit    05-09-2002
McDowell Leaders Refuse to Let Flood Wash Elections    05-09-2002
Weather Renews Worries    05-08-2002
Workers Face Grueling Task of Rebuilding McDowell    05-08-2002
County Residents Down, but Not Out    05-07-2002
Search and Rescue Continues as Damage Assessment Begins    05-07-2002
Rockefeller: Help is on the Way    05-07-2002
Flood Shuts Down McDowell Schools    05-07-2002
Search Intensifies for McDowell Flood Victims    05-06-2002
Bush Declares Disaster Area for Affected Counties    05-06-2002
Flood Death Toll Rises    05-05-2002
Storms Strike!    05-03-2002
McDowell Residents Sort Through Chaos of Mud and Water    05-03-2002
Group Brings Hope to McDowell    03-17-2002
Kimball Elementary School to Reopen in Early February    01-03-2002
Xmas in Switchback: Flood Hasn't Dampened Students' Spirits    12-20-2001
'New Hope' at Christmas Time    12-17-2001
Kimball Residents Hope Christmas will Help Heal Flood Wounds    12-16-2001
Starland Heights Project Provides SAFE Housing in McDowell County    11-21-2001
Residents Sound Off in McDowell    11-20-2001
McDowell County is Hiring    10-03-2001
Flood-proofing Begins in McDowell    09-26-2001
FEMA Closing Recovery Offices, Vows Commitment Still Stands    09-20-2001
National Guard Presented with W.Va. State Service Ribbons    09-10-2001
Flood Recovery Continues in McDowell County    09-09-2001
Wise: W.Va. is on the Way Back    08-29-2001
'New Hope' Coming to McDowell County    08-28-2001
Governor Promotes West Virginia's Future in Bluefield    08-28-2001
McDowell Heads Back to School    08-27-2001
Residents: Indian Ridge Footbridge a Necessity    08-26-2001
Rocket Boys Deliver School Supplies    08-23-2001
Demolished Structures Continue to Mount in Wyoming, McDowell Counties    08-22-2001
Officials: Northfork Middle Opens August 27    08-21-2001
School Board Looks at Options for Northfork Students    08-16-2001
Officials Test School Facilities    08-15-2001
Officials Hope to Get Northfork Middle Ready in Time for Fall Classes    08-14-2001
McDowell Initiative Could Yield Flood Recovery, 200 New Jobs    08-12-2001
$43 Million May Not be Enough for Restoration    08-10-2001
Home Show Set in Kimball    08-10-2001
Corps of Engineers Reshapes Region    08-09-2001
McDowell Schools' Repair Cost Climbing    08-08-2001
Northfork Middle School Closed    08-07-2001
Pocahontas Land Donates 42 Acres in McDowell    08-07-2001
McDowell Residents Can Still Participate in Flood Relief Project    08-06-2001
Volunteers Donate Time in the Kitchen for 'Food for Children'    08-05-2001
McDowell Officials Hope Improved Infrastructure Will Rise from Flood Destruction    08-05-2001
State Gets $8 Million for Flood Recovery    08-02-2001
Officials: Kimball Elementary Won't be Ready by Aug. 27    08-02-2001
Wise Pledges to Rebuild Southern West Virginia    08-01-2001
Residents Stand Their Ground: McDowell Citizens Struggle with Housing Issues    08-01-2001
Deadly Waters Return: Three-year-old Washed Away by Swollen Stream    07-30-2001
Area Braces for Additional Rainfall    07-29-2001
Potter Appointed Honorary General    07-29-2001
Kimball Picks Up Pieces    07-26-2001
Learning Center Halts Classes to Aid in Recovery    07-24-2001
Anawalt Mayor: Water Work Takes Top Priority    07-23-2001
Flood Damage Shouldn't Delay School Start    07-23-2001
Courage in Cleanup: Spirit of McDowell Shines Through Flood Debris    07-22-2001
McDowell Flood Victims Rebuild Dreams    07-20-2001
McDowell Residents Get Grants to Help Them Begin Again    07-19-2001
Temporary Homes Headed for McDowell County 07-18-2001
McDowell County Survey: Over 1200 Without Homes   07-16-2001
Flood-Proof Plan Needs Revisions 07-16-2001
McDowell Residents Face Crisis with Hope 07-16-2001
McDowell Residents Face Cleanup Head-on 07-13-2001
McDowell Damage Tops $50 Million 07-12-2001
McDowell County Residents Face Colossal Cleanup 07-11-2001
Region Declared Federal Disaster Area 07-11-2001
Receding Water Reveals Damage 07-10-2001
McDowell Residents Struggle to Rebuild 07-10-2001
Southern WV Communities Struggle to Recover 07-10-2001
Communities Destroyed by Raging Floods 07-09-2001
From the Washington Post
Eight Still Missing After W.Va. Flood    05-06-2002
4 Dead, 14 Missing in Appalachian Floods    05-04-2002
Thunder in the Valley: A Flood's Grim Wake    07-12-2001
From Disaster News Network
Reaching Out in Appalachia    07-05-2002
Killer Floods Hit WV Area    05-03-2002
WV Hit by More Flooding    07-31-2001
Tragedy Continues in VA/WV Mountains    07-31-2001
Relief Underway in Flooded WV    07-25-2001
Shelters House Hundreds in WV    07-12-2001
Other Links
McDowell County Commission July 2001 Flood Info Site   
McDowell County Commission May 2002 Flood Info Site   
McDowell County GenWeb Flood Info Site   
Coalwood Photos   
WV MetroNews McDowell County Photos   
WV MetroNews Southern WV Photos