MUD FORK — The March 15 flash flooding caused severe damage to Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College’s Allied Health building, but the college president says the recovery effort is nearly complete and school will be back in session in the fall.
Southern President Joanne Tomblin said in a recent interview that the Allied Health building suffered at least $1 million in flood damage when a flash flood washed through the Mud Fork, Verdunville, Mount Gay and Coal Branch areas on March 15.
“Things are going well. Our repairs are underway and we anticipate that it will be completed by the end of June,” Tomblin said. “There was probably close to $1 million in damage.”
Tomblin said some of the biggest losses was expensive medical equipment.
“Some of our equipment was lost, but some of it was able to be restored,” Tomblin said. “We do have to replace some of the equipment, because it was medical equipment.”
Tomblin said the repairs at the school are going acording to schedule.
“We’re back on track and everybody is excited,” she said. “We’ll be open for business before the fall.”
The flash flooding was severe in the four communities and cleanup efforts are still underway nearly three months later.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has already given out $2.2 million in grants to homeowners and renters affected by the flood.
On the morning of March 15, a torrential downpour dumped several inches of rain on the four communities and caused severe flash flooding.
Nearly 300 homes and businesses were damaged by the flooding and more than 1,000 people affected.
Students at Southern were stranded until the raging waters receded. Many vehicles in the college parking lot were destroyed by the flash flooding that caught everyone unaware. Emergency officials said the storm cell moved into the area and didn’t move for nearly an hour.
School children at Verdunville Elementary School were trapped inside for several hours until waters rescinded. Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College’s Allied Health building was also flooded and the school suffered more than $1 million in flood damage.
Within days, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, U.S. Rep. Nick Joe Rahall and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin had gotten a federal disaster declaration for the affected areas and FEMA opened a disaster recovery center at the Verdunville Volunteer Fire Department just nine days after the flash flood.
The last of the FEMA disaster recovery centers closed recently. The DRC had 761 visits from flood victims and 636 people registered for disaster aid.