As West Virginia begins to rebuild after the devastating flooding in our state, I wanted to provide an update on the steps being taken to ensure our residents, businesses and communities have the resources needed to recover. I urge all West Virginians to remain cautious, and continue helping friends and neighbors in need. Although the recovery won’t happen overnight, West Virginia is strong, and we will rebuild. 

FEMA and SBA Assistance
Today, I visited the National Armory in Charleston, which is serving as the reception center for FEMA staff as they arrive from all over the country to begin their deployment throughout the state. FEMA has deployed more than 250 staff to West Virginia, and 1,000 registrations for the FEMA Individual Assistance program have been received. 

I met with FEMA’s Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer Bill Watrel, as well as representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to discuss federal assistance for our residents and businesses. Requests were made for emergency housing, portable restrooms and dumpsters, and FEMA provided an update on adding additional counties to the disaster declaration. 

Individuals in the disaster area can apply for FEMA assistance online at or call 1-800-621-3362.

Businesses in the disaster area can apply for loans directly through the SBA. The loan application process can be started electronically at or by calling 1-800-659-2955. More information is available here

Visits to Affected Areas
I visited the hardest hit areas of West Virginia over the weekend to assess recovery efforts. I was devastated to see the damage this flooding has caused. On Friday, I visited White Sulphur Springs and on Saturday I met with state and local officials in Clendenin. The West Virginia National Guard and FEMA also led a helicopter tour of the damage in Richwood and the Greenbrier Valley, and we viewed the Summersville Dam in Nicholas County. We discussed the need for water, debris clearing and temporary housing for impacted West Virginians. Watch aerial footage here and view photos below. 

flooding damage v3

Flooding damage v2

Helicopter video

Flooding damage v1

Federal Disaster Declaration
The entire West Virginia congressional delegation sent a letter supporting Governor Tomblin’s request for a Federal Disaster Declaration on Saturday. I was glad the president swiftly approved the disaster declaration for Kanawha, Greenbrier and Nicholas counties. This declaration opens up federal assistance for medical support, housing and other immediate needs in these severely impacted regions. Webster, Fayette, Roane, Summers, Monroe, Clay and Pocahontas Counties are now being assessed for federal assistance as well. 

Capito Staff Deployed Throughout West Virginia
Members of my staff are deployed throughout West Virginia to help with recovery. Today, representatives from my office visited Camden-on-Gauley in Webster County, Ronceverte, Lewisburg, Rupert and White Sulfur Springs in Greenbrier County, Geary Elementary School in Roane County, Birch River in Nicholas County, the Clay County Health Department, and several fire departments in Clay and Roane Counties, where they assisted with emergency response operations, and met local officials and residents. 

Any West Virginians in need of assistance, are encouraged to contact my Charleston office at 304-347-5372.

Get Emergency Updates and Assistance
An app offered by FEMA provides critical information about shelters, disaster resources and applying for assistance. Download the app here.

Kanawha County’s emergency app, KC Ready, also provides local emergency response updates. Click here to download the app. 

Flood watch remains today
A flood watch is still in effect for parts of West Virginia. Please be safe and call my office at 304-347-5372 if you need assistance.

flood watch
Photo provided by the National Weather Service

Road Closures
View the latest road and bridge closure report from the West Virginia Department of Transportation here

Safety Tips During and After a Flood
The following information is provided by FEMA: 

  • Injuries may occur when people walk amid disaster debris and enter damaged buildings. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris. 
  • Be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in or around your home.
    • Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards and before going back to a property with downed power lines, or the possibility of a gas leak. 
    • Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. 
    • Report downed power lines and electrical hazards to the police and the utility company. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.
  • It’s important for all residents and visitors in flood-prone and low-lying areas to continue to monitor local radio or television stations for updated emergency information and follow the instructions of state and local officials.
  • Don’t put yourself at risk; follow the instructions of local officials – and if told to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Ensure you have a flashlight, NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries on hand. Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.
  • If you encounter flood waters, remember – TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN. 
    • Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous. Almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. 
    • Do not walk through flood waters. A few inches of water can sweep you off your feet. 
    • When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges, and at highway dips. 
    • As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • If roads are closed or there is water over a road, do not drive through the water. 
    • Be prepared to take detours and adjust your route due to road closures if there is standing water. 
  • If your power is out, safely use a generator or candles.
    • Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open. 
    • Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner's manual and follow the instructions. 
    • If using candles, please use caution. If possible, use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire.
  • Outside your home or business: Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car. 
  • Stay out of any building that is surrounded by floodwaters. 
  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations. 
  • Avoid floodwaters; water might be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water also might be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines. 
  • Avoid moving water and do not attempt to drive through standing water, even if it seems shallow. 
  • Avoid non-essential debris removal until the storm has passed.

West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
For more emergency response information, or to find a local emergency response office, please visit the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s website here.

American Red Cross
If you would like to help those impacted by the flooding, you can register as a volunteer with the Red Cross by clicking here.

The Red Cross is also maintaining a hotline, 1-800-REDCROSS, and a list of shelters is available here for those in need of assistance.

Volunteer West Virginia

Volunteer West Virginia has offered the following information about how to help:

  • INDIVIDUAL VOLUNTEERS: Volunteers should not self-deploy, please stay safe until contacted by a volunteer coordinator. Please register to volunteer at  If you are already volunteering at a local shelter or response operation but are not already registered with another disaster response agency (like the Red Cross), please register using the link on our website and comments with your current volunteer location.  
  • GROUP VOLUNTEERS: For agencies with groups of volunteers ready to help (including church groups and student organizations), please register your team on the website at You only need to register your team once.
  • AGENCIES WHO NEED ADDITIONAL VOLUNTEER SUPPORT: If your agency needs additional volunteer support to staff shelters, conduct damage assessments or is anticipating other volunteer needs, please contact or 304-558-0111 to complete a volunteer request. 
  • FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS: Financial donations are the best way to support the effort at this time. West Virginia has a statewide disaster relief fund managed in cooperation with a network of West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (WVVOAD) and the United Methodist Church. You can donate to this fund at Financial donations can be mailed to: 
     WV Disaster Relief Fund
    PO Box 3811
    Charleston, WV 25338
  • INFORMATION ON THE RESPONSE: Please visit for updates on the West Virginia floods. 

I will continue updating my Twitter and Facebook pages throughout the week with more information. If you need assistance, please contact my office at 304-347-5372. Stay safe.