In response to flooding taking place in Buchanan County that has left dozens of people unaccounted for, Governor Youngkin declared a state of emergency today to assist with response and recovery efforts.
After a torrential downpour inundated a rural Virginia county, tearing homes from their foundations and damaging roads and bridges, Forty-four people have been reported missing as of Thursday morning, the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office said.
Six inches of rain in just hours on Tuesday caused extensive damage. The storm was swift and overwhelming, with widespread flooding and road closures reported in just a few hours. Radar estimates indicate 6 inches of rain fell in about four hours starting at 8 p.m. Tuesday, corresponding with a rain event with a 1-in-1,000 chance of happening in a given year.
“Combined with the fact that the area is mountainous, rainfall is able to collect quickly, and dangerous runoff occurred,” CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford.
According to the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office in a Facebook post, the tally of 44 reflects those whose loved ones haven’t been able to contact them and cases in which law enforcement is “attempting to reach and locate the person and check on their wellbeing.”
In his statement declaring the emergency, Youngkin said the “Commonwealth is assisting with ongoing response and recovery operations which includes providing assets and supplies to our local partners. The Virginia Emergency Support Team will continue to support this incident.”
“We are deeply saddened to learn that another flood has impacted a community still recovering from last year’s flood,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “In the wake of the devastation, I want Virginians in Buchanan County to know that we are making every resource available to help those impacted by this storm. 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 in Buchanan County. While rescue and recovery continues, please join me in prayer as we lift up our fellow Virginians impacted by this tragedy.”
I am deeply saddened at the devastating news of flooding in Buchanan County. We are making every resource available to help those impacted. While rescue and recovery operations continue, please join me in prayer as we lift up our fellow Virginians impacted by this tragedy. https://t.co/XWc4UrOSn0
— Governor Glenn Youngkin (@GovernorVA) July 13, 2022
A state of emergency allows the Commonwealth to mobilize resources and deploy people and equipment to assist in response and recovery efforts. The declaration also allows officials from Virginia to coordinate the provision of resources with our state and local partners.
This is still a developing story, and it will be updated in the future as more information is uncovered, and the missing people are hopefully located. Hopefully the state of emergency will help organize any of the missing people.