The governor declared a state of emergency in Virginia amid the floods (Pictures: AP/Billy Bowling)
Devastating flooding in southwest Virginia has left about 40 people unaccounted for and more than 100 homes damaged.
A severe storm with flash floods struck several parts of the state on Tuesday night, with the Dismal River area particularly impacted.
The Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office in a Facebook post said that 44 individuals were unaccounted for, which does not necessarily mean they are missing, but rather that they have not been found or reached in well-being checks.
No fatalities were confirmed as of Wednesday afternoon.
Search and rescue efforts continue, authorities said.
Water levels apparently reached 11-and-a-half feet, prompting Governor Glenn Youngkin to declare a state of emergency on Wednesday.
‘I want Virginians in Buchanan County to know that we are making every resource available to help those impacted by this storm,’ stated Youngkin.
‘As we continue to assess the situation, I want to thank our first responders and the personnel on the ground for providing assistance with our ongoing operations.’
Many homes were left without power as temperatures reached 93 degrees Fahrenheit in the region.
Overnight, between four and six inches of rain battered Buchanan County, which is at the borders of Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. About 10 miles sustained damage, with a downstream area seeing the most destruction.
Virginia Department of Emergency Management officials said it was likely that more than 100 homes were damaged, but did not know the exact number. Some homes were knocked off their foundations, found as many as 300 yards from their foundations.
The storm also ripped parts of roads and rendered some bridges unsafe to cross.
The agency’s search and rescue specialist, Billy Chrimes, said that landslides and road conditions made it challenging for 18 search and rescue teams responding to the floods.
A family reunification center and shelter were set up at an elementary and middle school.
‘We ask that everyone please pray for this area,’ said Breeding. ‘Please pray for those affected by this flooding.’
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