Wyoming County was among the seven West Virginia counties included in a federal disaster declaration last week, according to U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.

Public assistance disaster money will be made available to Boone, Cabell, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, Wayne and Wyoming counties following torrential rains April 14-15.

The funding will be coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and could include debris removal, emergency protective measures and public services, repair of damaged public property, loans needed by communities for essential government functions and grants for public schools in the affected counties.

A weekend of torrential rains left nearly $2 million in road damages in Wyoming County due to the storm, according to Oliver Stewart, state Division of Highways’ county supervisor.

Water came up across the county April 15, covering very familiar ground and blocking roads temporarily in Matheny, Lillyhaven, Hanover, Mullens, Glen Rogers, Indian Creek, among others.

About 20 roads were temporarily blocked with high water, with a major mud slide blocking both lanes of Coal Mountain Road for several hours. Another slide blocked W.Va. 52 for nearly six hours that Sunday, Stewart said, but road crews were able to clear both lanes.

Numerous slips, which are underneath the road, were reported across the county, Stewart said, with the biggest concentration in the Hanover area.

One vehicle became trapped in water covering the road at Matheny during the storms, according to Chief Deputy Randall Aliff.

The Oceana Volunteer Fire Department rescued the driver by cutting the top of the truck off, Aliff said, lauding fire department members for completing the rescue while the water continued to rise around the truck.

Another vehicle also became trapped in water across the road near Westside High School, Aliff said.

There were a couple of requests for ambulances for residents suffering shortness of breath and it did take some time to get emergency personnel to those scenes because of the high water, officials said.

No homeowner reported flood waters in their homes, according to Dean Meadows, director of Wyoming County Emergency Services. Some homeowners, however, did report flood water around their homes, underneath their homes, inside garages and storage buildings, he said.

The hazard mitigation program, or federal home buyout, is working to remove residents from harm’s way, Meadows emphasized.

“If those homes in Matheny had not been moved, all of them would have been under water again,” Meadows said.

While water covered the ball fields at Westside High, there were no water damages to schools or facilities, according to county Superintendent Frank Blackwell.

“We did have some high water, but we didn’t have any water in any of the schools,” Blackwell said.

“Southern West Virginians were knocked down again by Mother Nature,” Rahall said. “But with this declaration, federal funding is now available to our friends and neighbors who continue to clean up after another dousing of torrential rains.

“Having seen the damage first-hand, I know that the recovery process has just begun, but I also know that southern West Virginians are a proud lot with the resolve to get back on their feet,” Rahall said. “With a little help from the federal government, they can recover a little faster.”

In addition to the public assistance being offered to Boone, Cabell, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, Wayne and Wyoming counties, all counties in the State of West Virginia are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. HMGP funds may be used to fund projects that will reduce or eliminate the losses from future disasters.

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