WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WOAY) – It’s an image burned into our minds of the tragedy that took place five years ago today. The historic flood killed 23 people, destroyed thousands of homes, and washed out 1300 roads across the state.
The heavy rains were caused by a large amount of moisture trapped over the area by a slow-moving cold front. This allowed storms to continuously develop and bombard Greenbrier County with heavy downpours that turned usually calm creeks into raging rivers which decimated the east side of White Sulphur Springs.
“The west end got it as well, but the east end got hit harder and faster than the other,” said White Sulphur Springs City Manager Lloyd Haynes. “It washed fish out of the fish hatchery and down onto the streets of White Sulphur Springs, so you can get an idea of just how bad it was.”
Once the floodwaters receded, the city began to rebuild its infrastructure and get homes rebuilt for their residents. But it was the community coming together to help one another that really pushed the rebuilding forward.
“The flood was the point where we were all affected by it,” said White Sulphur Springs Mayor Bruce Bowling. “So everybody was down and we just all got together and it’s the resilience of this community. People are not going to sit around, they get up and they take care of themselves.”
Since then the city is has restored itself to be better than it was before. One of the hardest-hit areas has been turned into a park with a baseball field and a public pool for everyone to enjoy.
To help deal with water issues in the future the city has done some restoration on the streams and cleaned up their drainage issues.
“We are looking at some of the other things like better evacuation processes and looking forward to the future, but as far as the rebuilding effort we are on track,” Haynes said. “The downtown is better now than it has been for many many years and we are looking forward to getting even better.”
Mayor Bowling said the rebuilding was a Renaissance for the city and thanks everyone who invested in it.