CLENDENIN, WV (WOWK) – Tuesday marked the fourth anniversary of historic flooding that left 23 dead and caused millions of dollars in damage across West Virginia.
June 23 is a day many people in the Mountain State will never forget — especially those who experienced the devastation first hand.
“It’ll never get out of your mind if you lived in Clendenin,” said Charlie Lynch of Clendenin.
Charlie and Rita Lynch said the damage to their home was extensive but not as bad as some of their neighbors.
“The evening of the flood we watched houses, camping trailers and garages going down the river, you name it,” they said.
For many of the people affected by the flood the road to recovery has been a long one.
“It is frustrating for me not just as a business owner but also as a resident,” said Andrea Underwood, owner of Momma Payne’s Diner. “But I just feel like there were so many people affected it is just going to take a while.”
Underwood opened her restaurant after the flood. It is a hub for locals to get meals. Without a grocery store in town since the flood she’s also added items for people who don’t want to travel out of the area to get the basics.
“Business is picking up but Clendenin is just not the same and I don’t know that it ever will be,” Underwood said.
As each store front opens and people embrace opportunities for tourism along the river there is more and more hope. But memories of that day still haunt some of those who call this area home.
“When it starts to rain really hard and the river starts coming up it brings it all back to mind again,” Rita Lynch said.