Flood of 1985

Moorefield Examiner
November 13, 1985

Recap of the Chronology...Flood Of November "85

Editor's Note: A recap of the lead story of the Special Flood Edition of the week of November 5 is included for our out of county subscribers since the special edition was distributed only to county residents who receive Postal delivery in Hardy County.

The worst flood in the memory of Hardy Countians struck Moorefield and Hardy County last Monday night. Walls of water rushed down both the South Fork and the South Branch rivers tearing apart houses, ripping out trees, breaking up asphalt roads and steel bridges and generally wreaking havoc throughout the area.

Estimates after the flood were that 200 mobile homes and 400 private homes had been destroyed or damaged by the flood in the Moorefield area. Some 1500 people were displaced and sixty businesses were damaged. Four deaths have been confirmed by the county coroner.

Hardy County is one of 29 counties in West Virginia to be declared a state disaster area as a result of the 20 inches of rain recieved [sic] over an 8 to 9 day period. By Friday, Hardy along with neighboring Grant, Hampshire, Mineral, Pendleton and 24 other counties were declared federal disaster areas by President Reagan.

Thousands of residents fled their home on Monday night as Moorefield was evacuated just ahead of the rapidly rising waters. Some three to four feet of rolling water swept through the Moorefield business district. By Sunday evening a survey completed by members of the Disaster Recovery Committee showed that 453 homes and mobile homes in the Town were non-habitable with approximately one-half of those totally or nearly destroyed. An additional estimated 29 homes in the County were considered non-habitable as a result of the flood.

Extensive damage was suffered by the South Branch Valley Railroad, highways and bridges of the area. With the Petersburg Gap Bridge torn from its pilings and washed downstream, Route 220 between Moorefield and Petersburg was closed and the Frosty Hollow- Welton Orchard Road was substituted as an emergency throughway for several days. By the weekend the Rig Road had been restored to use after the Buzzerd's Ford bridge approaches and the roadway near the Gap Bridge had been repaired. The South Fork Road remained impassable until Friday when parts of the washed away roadway had been detoured by the State Highway Department. The National Guard moved into headquarters at the Town Office building and engineers assisted with emergency road repair and detour construction to assist flood victims with emergency service. Contractors and private individuals aided in the restoration of roadways throughout the flood area. Except for a time during the night of the flood, Route 55 remained open and Route 220 North was open and passable by Wednesday.

Some utility services were being re-established in Moorefield by Thursday. Water lines, power lines, transformers, telephones - nearly everything was disfunctional [sic] on Tuesday. The Town water system provided some areas with non-drinkable water to begin the massive clean-up effort by Wednesday.


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