Virginia residents hit by flooding expect some community members to leave rather than rebuild


BUCHANAN COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – The focus in Buchanan County has shifted from weathering storms and flooding to cleaning up.

The Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) released a statement Wednesday night saying that at least one fatality had been confirmed in Hurley, Virginia as a result of the flooding. More than 20 homes were lost in the floodwaters.

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As much as eight inches of rain fell in Buchanan County Monday, as the remnants of Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on Southwest Virginia. Governor Ralph Northam issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in the region.

BCSO said that residents should prepare to be without power for 30 days. The wait for water will be even longer, as officials estimate it will be close to a year before clean water can be returned to some homes.

Hurley resident Sonny Coleman said he plans to start using well water again rather than waiting for public water to return, and he is hoping to acquire a generator for electricity.

“I love this place, anywhere I go, I can talk to people,” Coleman said. “You know if I lived somewhere else, there’s nobody I know. It’s just home.”

While the Hurley community attempts to rebuild, some residents don’t expect all of their neighbors to remain.

“Lot of people will leave,” said Hurley resident Wade Endicott. “Lot of people aren’t going to have a choice. Because where land is, they got water, and it is unbelievable. Good friends of mine, real good friend of mine, lost his mom. He’s in our prayers continually.”

Donations of bottled water, cleaning supplies and baby supplies have been coming into the Trey Adkins Community Center from across Southwest Virginia.

BCSO urges anyone who doesn’t live in the flood zone to avoid the area, and identification will be required at a law enforcement roadblock to prevent an unnecessary amount of travel.

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