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Monday, July 4, 2016

SEVERE FLOODING IN MY STATE



A week and a half ago, my state West Virginia, had so many counties that were flooded: The torrential rain was relentless and it fell and fell. Imagine over fourteen straight hours of rain—it’s unimaginalbe to grasp that much. Along with the rain were severe thunderstorms. I watched the rain pour as I looked out my kitchen window off and on; my front yard looked like a small lake. Guess I should say that where I live is on top of a giant mountain and that in itself is a good thing as far as flooding if it were to happen. But there are numerous places here in my city that have high mountains where people live and too many times, nearby creeks have overflowed and flooded too many areas.

By late afternoon, the weather channel had warnings for flooding as well as for posible tornadoes. Thankfully no tornadoes spawned here but by time for the local evening news, everyone could see imminent devastation just waiting. People were frantic about whether or not their loved ones were affected and yet in too many cases, they could not be reached for power was out in so many areas that reaching anyone by a landline phone or a cell phone was impossible.

At 11:00 that night, everyone [that had power] could see the flooding on TV in too many areas here. Some areas were not known about for cameramen or women could not get to those places. And the wait began—it went on all night long.

I couldn’t sleep for fear of what was happening for although I live high up, far down below is the main river that flows through my area. Its tributary was no doubt at flood stage and yet it would take until daylight to see that the tributary river had overflowed its banks while the main river reached an all-time high.

When dawn came that morning, what I witnessed on TV was mindblowing—the devastation in cities nearby me and those far away were in too many cases, under water. In one city that is about two hundred miles from me, the main street looked like a river for water was gushing down the street so fast it looked surreal.  There was no way I could get to any of those areas for too many were flooded. By mid-afternoon, so many counties here were completely devastated.

By evening, I watched the local news channel and there was more bad news: Many lives had been lost as they had been swept away in torrential water and/or drowned. And like others here, I learned that this flooding hadn’t happened, such as it did, in one hundred years. And then came photos of flooded areas that were unreal to witness on TV—houses gone, businesses torn apart and flooded, one city completely submerged under water and worst of all, was seeing people so distraught that they were utterly dumbstruck. Watching it, I was as well. No one could imagine such horror here and yet it happened.

Today is the 4th of July and more relentless rain is on the way. No one can deal with it. No one wants it. Everyone fears another flood.  As of yesterday, the death count was twenty three—twenty three too many. One that died was a four year old boy who got swept away from his grandfather; another was an eight year old boy who got caught up in the rushing waters. At this point in time, a family is still hoping that their fourteen year old daughter is alive but three of her family members were flood victims. Hope is what so many are holding onto.

We have been blessed with an outpouring of help in the form of volunteers from non-flooded areas as well as out of state volunteers—all helping the flood victims out in any way, shape or form. So many businesses chimed in with TV stations and started a drive for non-perishable foods, bottled water and cleaning supplies. As of now, the donations are still coming in and are greatly needed.

Thoughout this time frame, like others, I have been on edge worrying about relatives that got stranded or friends who hadn’t reported to anyone. Luckily,  I found out that they were safe or at a shelter but so many here are still not sure if their loved ones or friends are all right.

I wish I could show you the devastation but I can’t; however, you can google what has happened here in West Virginia and see the horror of it all. Perhaps you live in a state or country that has a lot of floods and if you should,  you have my prayers for living with that is beyond the realm of thinking. But it does happen and when it does, there’s no stopping it. Water is the source of life; it’s inside of us, we need it to survive and yet water can be a dangerous thing—dangerous when it rains relentlessy causing creeks, streams or rivers to overflow and touch anything in its way. It is the strongest force in the world when it becomes such as that.

And yes, it is something that in too many cases, people have had to deal with, live with or be affected by it. Any force of nature can be bad—even here we had a horrendous tornado in 1991 [which had never happened prior,] another one not quite as bad three years later and then a horrid storm that took out trees, houses and did incredible damage. But this flooding here has been so massive that in some places, it will take years to repair, rebuild or to completely redo streets, highways, electrical systems and most of all, infrastructures.

I felt compelled to write this for you to read; you may already know all of this information and if so, feel free to dismiss it. Healing will happen but it sure won’t happen overnight for those that lost every single thing that they ever had—and worse feeling the pain of losing loved ones will take a long time to recover if it happens.

One thing that has been and still is that West Virginians are strong: They have always helped their neighbors out in dire circumstances and they still do. I know that all too well for I am one: I was raised that way to help others. From one generation to another, this looking out for each other has been passed down and it’s a strong trait here. But I want to say a huge “Thank you” to anyone and everyone that has come here to help for you are so appreciated for all that you have been doing. May you be blessed ten-fold.

Sherry Hill

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Sherry Hill

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