Monongalia County Commission declares State of Emergency in response to July 29 storms

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Monongalia County Commission has officially declared a State of Emergency for the county due to excessive rainstorms.

During Commission’s regular meeting Wednesday, the declaration was approved unanimously after Monongalia County Emergency Management Director Jimmy Smith gave an update on the amount of damage that has been accounted for by officials. In the intense rainstorm that brought close to six inches of rain in less than three hours, damage was confirmed to be seen in several homes and businesses in the Morgantown Area and more are expected to report damage.

“As of this morning we’ve received one hundred and twenty-three preliminary damage assessment reports, and those are just from individuals and businesses,” said Smith updating Commission on some of the damage that has been reported.

In declaring the State of Emergency, Monongalia County residents who took damage as a result of the July 29 storms, will be eligible for more FEMA funds that are designated for such weather events. The decision to take the rout of the emergency declaration, was made after Monongalia County Commission looked to potentially use designated funds for the Fairmont-Morgantown Housing Authority to help those who in some cases, took catastrophic damage.

“And I just want it known that as she (Executive at the Fairmont-Morgantown Housing Authority) found out, that they don’t do rehabilitation anymore,” said Monongalia County Commissioner Tom Bloom. “And that’s where I thought that money was going from the grant, I thought that was one of the avenues, so with this this will really open some doors,” he said.

For Monongalia County residents, any kind of support will be accepted as people residing in multiple parts of the county told their experiences involving the extreme rainstorms that took place on July 29 and the damage that came with it. While speaking in front of Commission during the public portion of the meeting, residents described flooding that took away decades of hard work and memories in less than three hours.

“I have insurance but not flood insurance and my house may be totally lost,” said Westover resident Diana Moore. “We don’t know for sure yet but the foundation might have moved on the other side, I got to get it checked,” she said.

With the State of Emergency officially in effect in Monongalia County, residents who experience damage as a result of the July 29 storms are being asked to fill any FEMA Emergency Assessment Forms. In doing so, a resident will officially be tallied among the hundreds who have already gave their reports to the the Monongalia County Emergency Management Center, who will then send the forms to FEMA, where they’ll assess the financial compensation for the damage. Local emergency officials are encouraging anyone whose experienced damage to fill a report so a complete list can be sent to state and national officials.

“We will also be submitting our first hundred reports for damage assessment down to the state today, with the declaration” said Smith regarding what’s to come next. “We have set a deadline of next Wednesday that we’ve asked all individuals to have those reports provided to our office,” he said.