The West Virginia 1985 Flood Essay

Published: 2020-02-12 01:22:24
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The floods of November 1985 devastated much of West Virginia. Authorities called the record-breaking floods that began November 4 the worst this century. More than 3,500 homes and 180 businesses were wiped out. 123 bridges were destroyed or damaged and hundreds of thousands of farm animals were killed. 47 West Virginians lost their lives, 28 of whom resided in Pendleton and Grant counties. 33 of West Virginias 55 counties were declared disaster areas. Its highest winds moved at 85 mph (140 km/h). Damage was estimated at $570 million. Hurricane Juan was blamed for the floods throughout central and eastern West Virginia, which hit the Gulf Coast on Halloween and moved north.

As a step towards recovery The Forest Service scientists at the Northern Research Stations Fernow Experimental Forest near Parsons, West Virginia along with the West Virginia Division of Forestry and Virginia Tech University have been evaluating the effects of forestry activities on flooding. Important conclusions from these research efforts are:-Most hydrologic models are not designed to handle extreme events, such as flooding; therefore such models must be used as predictive tools with caution; The amount and intensity of rainfall are the main determinants of the level of peak flows (the largest peak flows result in flooding), and during very large storms, harvesting activities did not significantly affect peak flows; and Timber harvesting does not contribute significantly to flooding.

The Chessie System workers had one span of the new girder bridge in place less than a week after the flood waters had receded. Instead of constructing another double track bridge, Chessie System decided to just build a single-track one and construct a new interlocking farther west on Cheat River grade near Carrico Road Xing this solved the urgent communication problem that had resulted due to the collapse of the of the bridge. A culvert was put in place to channel the rest of the water over the side.

In any natural disaster, a communitys self-sufficiency is its best hope for a speedy recovery. West Virginians were the model of resiliency in the aftermath of the 1985 flood. Not only did they help their neighbors by donating food, clothing and money, but also they banded together to rebuild their communities.

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