W. Va. Flooding Updates: Confirmed Fatalities, State of Emergency Expansion

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A West Virginia official says there are confirmed fatalities from flooding that has devastated parts of the state. Chris Stadelman, who’s Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s communications director, said Friday morning that three people died in Kanawha County. He didn’t have details and said the numbers don’t include a young boy who crews have been looking for after he was swept away by swift water Thursday in Jackson County.

A confirmed EF-1 tornado, which has wind speeds of up to 110 mph, hit Nicholas County on Tuesday.

West Virginia roads officials have been dealing with downed trees and power poles, high water, accidents and other problems due to ongoing storms. Several accidents have been reported in recent days due to hydroplaning, and there are intermittent traffic signal outages.

Nicholas and Greenbrier counties were the first to be declared states of emergency late Thursday afternoon. Emergency shelters began to open and reports of evacuations started to come in soon after. Jackson County Emergency Management officials report day two of a search for a male child between 2 and 4 will begin at 9 a.m. this morning. The boy was swept away Thursday by swift water behind his home near Ravenswood.

By Thursday evening, Tomblin expanded the state of emergency to include 44 of the state’s 55 counties – all but the northern and eastern panhandles.

Tomblin released a statement this morning calling the flooding events “the worst in a century for some parts of the state.” He’s authorized 150 members of the West Virginia National Guard to assist with local emergency responders and says some waters are still rising this morning.