State says 84 projects from 2016 flood remain to be completed 

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

Seven and a half years ago, southern West Virginia was struck by a disastrous flooding event that killed 23 people and caused millions in damages. 

During a mid-December meeting of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Flooding, Director GE McCabe of the West Virginia Emergency Management Division (WVEMD) disclosed to lawmakers that 84 projects remain “open” from that flooding event. 

Projects which have yet to be completed are categorized as “open” by officials. For example, a home demolition awaiting final approval would be categorized as open. 

WVEMD spokesperson Lora Lipscomb described the open projects in general terms, saying, “Those still in progress include projects for generators supporting critical infrastructure, acquisitions/demolitions of private homes, elevations of private homes, reconstructions of private homes, and stormwater management.”  

Greenbrier County Emergency Management confirmed four open projects locally including two private home elevations, one acquisition of a private home for demolition, and a generator for a public entity. 

They added that they received calls on a regular basis from residents who continue to seek relief from the 2016 flood over the last few months. WVEMD ran public service announcements inviting residents to contact their local emergency management office to apply for assistance in 2023. But the county says few if any qualify for the assistance. 

More than 100 “open” projects exist across the state related to numerous flooding events, but McCabe said 84 of those are from the June 2016 flood alone. 

“We’ve got a lot going on,” said McCabe, before describing his office’s activities related to at least ten flood events since June 2016. “These things take a lot of time. We are making progress.” 

RealWV reached out to multiple members of the Joint Committee on Flooding for comment, but none spoke on the record.

Tammy Tincher serves as President of the Greenbrier County Commission. She lives in the Meadow River Valley, which was hard-hit in the June 2016 flood. Reached for comment on the remaining projects, she said, “It would be beneficial for the county, as I am sure the state as well, to close out these projects in 2024.” 

Author’s note: This is the first in a series of flood mitigation stories leading up to the 2024 legislative session in Charleston.

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