Anticipated Rainfall through 8:00 am EST September 19th, 2018
Governor Justice: Hurricane Florence State Preparedness Briefing
Anticipated Rainfall as predicted by the National Hurricane Center on 9/13/2018
Governor Justice provides update on State of Preparedness for Hurricane Florence
In a press release from the Governor’s office on September 12, 2018, Governor Justice gave an update on the State of Preparedness and the multiple state agencies that are prepared to respond, including the National Guard, the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the State Police, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the WV Intelligence/Fusion Center, the Department of Health and Human Resources, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation and Division of Natural Resources. A full breakdown of this update can be found here.
Fox News – FEMA holds update briefing on Hurricane Florence
ABC News – FEMA chief talks Hurricane Florence preparations
On a press release on September 11th, 2018, Governor Justice orders all construction on Northbound I-77 to be suspended from the state line to Charleston during the State of Preparedness.
“We need to allow our traffic to flow freely as folks travel to safer areas and to ensure that relief supplies reach their needed locations as quickly as possible,” Gov. Justice said.
The Parkways Authorities will advise travelers of alternative pathways.
CBS -FEMA Administrator Brock Long “Hurricane Florence will be “devastating,” FEMA chief says
FEMA Press Conference
An important part of being prepared for a disaster is staying aware of weather that is happening around you. There are many ways to stay up to date on severe weather conditions, including signing up for alerts from your local news station, listening to alerts from the National Weather Service on the radio and television, or downloading apps on your smartphone from FEMA or the American Red Cross.
West Virginia Prepares for Hurricane Florence
On the morning of September 11th, 2018, Governor Justice has issued a State of Preparedness for the entire state of West Virginia in advance of Hurricane Florence.
This “allows for the mobilization of resources to assist with preparation for any potential flooding or other storm related damage. Additionally, the Governor has instructed all state agencies to exercise their appropriate authorities associated with this State of Preparedness.”
Governor Justice “stands ready to declare a state of emergency for all areas that the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management deem necessary.”
The issuing of a State of Preparedness follows Governor Justice’s statement on Hurricane Florence preparations on September 10th, 2018 which directs the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (WVHSEM) and the West Virginia National Guard to prepare for potential emergency situations, in the form of monitoring weather reports and river gauges for potential impacts, and working with other state and federal agencies for planning, preparedness and response purposes.
“All West Virginians need to prepare immediately for the potential impact Hurricane Florence may bring to the Mountain State,” said Governor Jim Justice. “West Virginians should continue to monitor local weather forecasts, reports and information distributed by local emergency officials, news, and radio stations. And please, do not endanger yourselves, your loved ones or our first responders by trying to drive through flood waters!” Click Here for Proclamation
Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas late this week as a major hurricane. Many regions of West Virginia, including the Eastern Panhandle, Potomac Highlands, Mountain Lakes, and New River/Greenbrier Valley regions, may see significant rainfall.
As of 5:00am EST today, a hurricane watch has been issued from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border. Mandatory evacuations have been issued by the governors of North and South Carolina and Virginia for coastal areas.
Currently, Hurricane Florence is a classified as a Category 4, with winds at 130 mph, and is moving at 15 mph. It is expected to make landfall late this week.
West Virginia may experience heavy rain and thunderstorms, which may potentially cause flooding.
“Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.” is the slogan for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 2018 national preparedness month, with the focus being on creating a plan for yourself, your family, and your community. Each week has a different task to be completed, leading up to being prepared for all types of emergencies when they happen and in the aftermath and learning life saving skills to ensure that you and your family are safe when disaster strikes.
Week 1 September 1-8: Make and Practice your Plan
Week 2 September 9-15: Learn Life Saving Skills
Week 3 September 16-22: Check Your Insurance Coverage
Week 4 September 23-29: Save for an Emergency
For more information on how you can accomplish the tasks of each week, please go to the Preparedness Section of WV VOAD’s website or to Ready.gov.
WV VOAD has created a new resource manual for residents, community organizations and state agencies seeking assistance or looking to assist others after a disaster.
Produced by WV VOAD’s AmeriCorps VISTA, Erin Bower, who has been working with VOAD since June 2017, the 411-page guide is now available on our website, www.wvvoad.org.
“We hoped to create a hub, or a single place where communities could find information about where to seek help in the wake of a flood or other disaster,” WV VOAD Recovery Coordinator Bethany Bentley said. “We wanted something that was specific to West Virginia with agencies and businesses that have been cooperative and collaborative with WV VOAD.”
The resource manual includes information about WV VOAD member agencies and the services they provide, along with contact information on vendors that have had strong relationships with WV VOAD and its member organizations.
The information is broken down geographically, first listing those organizations and businesses that provide services statewide and then identifying resources in each county. Information can be found on everything from debris cleanup and home rebuilding and repair to spiritual care, financial planning and assistance, plumbing and electrical contractors and much more.
Bower, who spent more than six months compiling information, said many people had a hand in helping identify relevant resources.
“Case managers and our member agencies played a huge role in gathering and providing contact information,” she said.
The resource manual will continue to be updated, and WV VOAD is actively seeking recommendations for additional resources, particularly in the construction field. Information can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WV VOAD member agencies are making progress on two new homes that have been a long time coming for several flood survivors in Nicholas and Kanawha counties.
The West Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church is leading the rebuild of a house in Richwood for a senior who lost everything when the Cherry River overran its banks during the June 2016 flood.
“He was a contractor, but he’s had a lot of health issues,” said Jack Lipphardt, who coordinates the conference’s response to the June 2016 flood. “He contracted pneumonia, had several surgeries on his leg and back and there are a number of health issues that prevent his ability to work and derive an income. He was just a natural fit for us to come in and offer some help.”
The senior has been assisted by a United Methodist disaster case manager, and he’s been living in a camper near his property while waiting for his new home to be built.
With about $25,000 in funding from the conference, $20,000 from the Disaster Relief Fund and volunteer labor provided by the United Methodist Church and World Renew, his new home is now complete except for flooring, some interior work and a new heating, cooling and ventilation system.
“World Renew really wanted to build this house, and their initial hope was to build it soup-to- nuts,” Lipphardt said. “They ran into some schedule issues with their volunteers, so we needed to contract to put the footers in.”
The footers were poured in February, “but then March happened,” Lipphardt said. “Snow, rain, ice, and even when the sun was out, it was cold. We weren’t able to mix mortar or lay block — March just killed us.”
The project faced repeated weather delays. But in the past couple of months, volunteer teams collaborated to get the work done. United Methodist volunteer crews began the framework, and then World Renew brought in volunteers from around the country to install windows, set up the electricity and plumbing and do the drywall.
“It’s been a neat partnership with so many groups working to get this done,” Lipphardt said.
The house, which was elevated about nine feet to prevent future flood damage, is expected to be ready for the client to move in by mid-summer.
In Clendenin, a new home is underway for a couple whose property was ravaged when the Elk River flooded in June 2016.
Jerry and Anna Rucker lived right next to Herbert Hoover High School on the property where Jerry grew up. They were getting ready for church — Anna is a part-time minister and attends several local churches — and barely had time to get out of their home as flood waters rose.
Just two weeks earlier they had finished remodeling their home, installing new flooring and moving in new furniture.
Four feet of water got into their house, eventually destroying it and two other buildings on their property. In the coming days, the swollen river would bring down nearby trees and wash away their riverbank and dock.
“This is a couple who, over the years, has done all kinds of things to help out other folks in their community,” said Tina Smith, the Ruckers’ Disaster Case Manager.
Last year, even while they were displaced and in the midst of their own recovery, they volunteered to collect supplies for hurricane survivors in Texas and Florida.
The couple has been staying in the vacant home of a neighbor who recently passed away.
Just this month, the footers for their new home have been poured and the rebuilding process has begun. The home is being constructed by volunteers with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS), with funding provided by Community Lutheran Partners, Lutheran Disaster Response, MDS and the VOAD Disaster Relief Fund. The homeowners contributed $20,000 toward the rebuilding.
To avoid future flooding, the homesite has been moved to an elevated plot of land about 100 yards uphill from their previous house, and the foundation will be elevated about four feet as an added precaution.
The goal is to get the family moved into their new home by early fall.
“It’s great to see things moving along,” Smith said. “This is just a really special family.”
An Elkview couple is receiving major repairs to their home after it sustained damage in the June 2016 flood.
The seniors had three feet of water in their home. Interior walls, floor joists, the heating and cooling system and the decking were all destroyed. They put thousands of dollars of their own money into repairs, but the magnitude of the work took a toll. They purchased a small hunting cabin, weather-proofed it and have been staying there until they can return home.
The couple has been assisted by a WV VOAD case manager and additional funding for repairs has been provided by the Disaster Relief Fund, Catholic Charities West Virginia, the United Way and the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Several WV VOAD member agencies and other organizations provided volunteer labor to help with repairs, including World Renew, Westwood Baptist Church, Timberlake Christian Church-Disciples of Christ from Lynchburg, Va. and ROAR. The interior walls, floor joists, HVAC system and ductwork all have been replaced and additional interior repairs are ongoing. The residents should be back home soon!