Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 2, 2013

Snow slows flood recovery in Richlands

RICHLANDS, Va. — Click here for video.

Though winter weather has delayed some clean-up efforts, officials in Richlands said Friday they are optimistic they can quickly clean mud and debris leftover from recent flooding.

Town Manager Tim Taylor said the damage incurred by flooding Wednesday and Thursday was not as bad as it could have been. Several streets bordering the Clinch River were closed due to high water Wednesday and Thursday while some residents had to be briefly evacuated from their homes Thursday night.

“Right now, it doesn’t impact everyone in the same way but for the entire town the damage is probably moderate,” she said. “It is more damage than we normally see, though there is no major damage. With our town being developed right around this river, we do have to deal with it. The Clinch does back up and she can cause damage in some various areas. The major issue right now is mud, debris and things that have washed in. We are cleaning a lot of the streets where the mud washed in. The big problem right now is some of our parks and recreation areas, like Williams Park, have a lot of fences run over by water as well as a lot of mud and debris. We haven’t had any major structural problems that can’t be cleaned up easily.”

Taylor said winter weather has complicated assessing flood damage.

“We haven’t assessed everything yet,” he said. “The snow and ice has complicated things. We had to put some town employees on snow removal first. We have already started assessing what has happened. The snow was a slight set back, but we will be working this weekend to clean up as we can. This is going to be a project we will continue through next week.”

So far, Taylor said no major reports of damage to local residences or buildings have come in.

“We have not yet analyzed personal property or residences,” he said. “We had some people evacuated temporarily, but as far as I know people have been able to get back to their homes and clean. A lot of the people in this area are used to nuisance flooding. Many have had mitigation to prevent the flooding, but as far as I know there haven’t been any long-term displacements. Everyone who left when the water was at its highest are back in their homes. No one has called us to tell us about anything of any major concern.”

Taylor said most of the town’s residents have gotten used to some level of flooding following heavy rains.

“We have minor flooding frequently,” he said. “We have had flood stages higher than this one. This has been the highest it has been in a while, but this is not the worst flooding we have ever seen here. We have a lot of measures in place such as flood ordinances to prevent the flooding from getting as bad as it could be. We have seen it a lot worse in Richlands.”

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com

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