Officials urge residents to heed evacuation warnings

RICHLANDS, VA (WOAY) – As southern West Virginia and southwest Virginia sees more rain, there is potential for flood waters to return.

Last week, officials warned residents in dangerous areas that floodwaters would soon take over their neighborhoods.

Police Chief Jerry Gilbery says while some heeded their advice to evacuate, others chose to ride out the weather in their home. When water rose to unexpected levels, authorities switched to rescue mode.

“You know the conditions before the flooding, but you don’t know what the water has washed out,” says Gilbert. “You’re just guessing where [roads are,] and then there are potential health hazards from the water itself and you’re dealing with the swift water.”

Gilbert says that while your home is replaceable, your life is not and you should heed all warnings.

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Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at