Emergency declared in West Virginia county hit by storms

June 15, 2022 GMT

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday declared a state of emergency for a northern West Virginia county hit by high winds and flash flooding from severe storms that caused one death.

The declaration that will remain in effect for 30 days allows emergency responders to mobilize personnel and resources in Ohio County, where roads were blocked and nearly 7,000 customers remained without electricity Wednesday from the storms on Monday night and early Tuesday.

The governor’s office said in a statement that the body of a 20-year-old woman was found Tuesday evening after she was swept away from a bridge in floodwaters in the Wileyville area.

Three firefighters were taken to a hospital for evaluation after responding to an electrical fire early Tuesday in Wheeling, the city about 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh said in a news release. Two firefighters were shocked by a power line that fell on the roof of a building that had caught fire during the storm. The third firefighter was injured in a fall.

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“It’s been really tough stuff,” Justice said. “Rest assured, anytime that anything like this happens, we’re on it immediately.”

Wind gusts reached 70 mph (113 kph) in parts of the Northern Panhandle during the storms. Thunderstorm clusters in the lower Great Lakes region met the criteria to be considered a derecho, the National Weather Service said Tuesday on Twitter. A derecho is a widespread, straight-line wind storm that is associated with fast-moving severe thunderstorms.