5 years after deadly flood, Clendenin prepares for possibly another

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CLENDENIN, WV (WOWK) — Just months ago was the five-year anniversary of the 2016 flood that killed nearly two dozen people across the state of West Virginia.

As remnants of Hurricane Ida roll in and the Elk River moves closer to an action stage, preparation is key.

“I’m very nervous, number two I’m saying a lot of prayers because in 2016 it was devastating to all of us and I can’t forget that,” said Kay Summers, the Mayor of Clendenin.

The deadly Clendenin flood of 2016 was caused by flash floods. While this storm nearing the Tri-State is a tropical storm, the end game could have dangerous results.

But local emergency crews say they are prepared for the worst.

“Were used to being on the river. We train frequently on the boats, we run our boats frequently, so this doesn’t change how our boats are prepared and water rescues. We may get a call to go out on the river at anytime,” said Deputy Chief Steve Samples with the Clendenin Volunteer Fire Department.

The 2016 floods also sparked an automatic aid agreement with the West Virginia National Gaurd, which are on standby throughout the state for rising water levels.

In 2016, the Elk River rose up to 30 feet, and with this upcoming storm, it’s estimated to rise up to 20 feet. But that can all change with flash flooding, especially near where it connects to Sandy Creek.

Residents in Clendenin are urged to be prepared with extra food and blankets, but if they need rescued from their home:

“We have our community center and we are ready for that. So if someone is miss placed we can bring them there and to churches we are working with so we have that plan in place,” said Mayor Summers.

One thing is for sure, Clendenin’s resilience shines through during tough times.

“It’s one of those things we have all lived on this river all our life and we have to deal with it, so that’s what we do.”

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