HUNTINGTON — The U.S. The Department of Labor awarded incremental funding Monday to help West Virginia continue cleaning up the effects of severe storms that struck the state last winter.

The award of $614,437 was given to WorkForce West Virginia to continue to provide temporary employment to help with cleanup and recovery services in nine counties affected by severe storms in February and March of 2021.

Two back-to-back winter weather systems ripped through the state in February 2021, leaving icy roads and fallen trees behind. Those storms left 100,000 customers without power. Two weeks later — with the ground still saturated by snow and ice from February’s storms — hard rainfall caused widespread flooding throughout the state.

The state was awarded a National Dislocated Worker Grant in August 2021 for up to $3,050,769, initially awarding $1,016,923. With Monday’s announcement, the total allocation is now $1,632,360.

U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., applauded the continuous funding.

“Many areas of our state were hit hard by storms and the subsequent flooding last year,” Capito said. “People were stranded at home, roads were damaged, and power outages spread throughout the area. This funding is critical for ongoing repair and recovery efforts and I’m glad to help bring these needed resources to West Virginia.”

Manchin said the funds will help provide much-needed support to the communities impacted by the storms, including funding disaster relief employment for eligible individuals.

“I’m grateful to the first responders, National Guard members and fellow West Virginians for helping our state recover and rebuild,” he said. “I will continue working with federal, state and local officials to ensure West Virginia communities are prepared for any future storm or disaster that comes our way.”

Dislocated Worker Grants temporarily expand service capacity of dislocated workers programs at state and local levels by giving funding for responses to large, unexpected economic events which cause significant job losses.

In this instance, the grant was awarded to employ people to remove debris from streams, clear downed trees and do other cleanup work in Boone, Cabell, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo, Putnam and Wayne counties.

The grant has gone toward supporting jobs at 27 worksites in southwestern West Virginia.