WILLIAMSON – The skies darkened quickly and day turned to night as a severe thunderstorm moved through the area around 4:45 p.m. on Monday afternoon.
State and county officials implemented the emergency alert warning around this time.
There were reports of minor flash flooding at Dan’s Branch of Borderland just north of Williamson on Monday afternoon.
Power lines were downed and across the road at Ragland near Delbarton. Trees were blown over and heavy rain fell in a short amount of time.
Then, on Monday night, more heavy and severe thunderstorms moved through the area. More flash flooding was reported in Mingo and Logan Counties. There was also flooding in eastern Kentucky including Pike and Martin Counties. The most devastating flash flooding was in Johnson County, Ky.
The number of people still unaccounted for continued to change on Tuesday after flash floods hit the Paintsville area Monday night.
Kentucky State Police (KSP) Post 9 in Pikeville, Ky. confirmed during a Tuesday morning news conference that at least seven people are still unaccounted for. At this time, the ages range from 22 to 74.
Police say the number of those missing keeps changing because the flash flood knocked out all communication in the hardest hit areas. Police say one man was killed during the flash flood. KSP said the people who are unaccounted for are from the Flat Gap community and 8 miles downstream
American Electric Power Company reported thousands of homes and businesses were without power. This included Mingo County and Pike Counties. Tens of thousands of people were without power in southwestern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky due to severe storms moving across the area.
As of 6 p.m. Monday, Appalachian Power reported 6,013 customers had lost power in Cabell County, 4,205 in Wayne County and more than 6,000 in Mingo County, including parts of the county seat of Williamson.
Lincoln County in West Virginia experienced some flooding and road blockage.
Some of the areas that reported outages or water in the road in Mingo County to the OES office included Marrowbone Junction; Rawl (water across the road near Dick Williams Branch on State Route 49); Goodman Hollow; and Dan’s Branch. “Any flooding that has occurred is reportedly “nuisance” flooding caused by runoff and backed-up ditches,” county officials stated.
Ponding of water due to overflows of ditches and runoff was reported at several locations including U.S. Route 52 south of Williamson near the intersection of Valley View.
Across the river in Kentucky, Kentucky Power reported 5,281 customers without power in Carter County, 2,509 in Pike County and 2,703 in Johnson County .
No major flooding was reported in Mingo County, according to OES Director Doug Goolsby.
Mingo County was in a state of emergency preparedness and not an actual state of emergency on Tuesday.
More rain and thunderstorms were forecast for Tuesday evening, causing concern for local residents and emergency services personnel.
The town of Matewan postponed its regular council meeting on Tuesday night due to the weather and power outages. A makeup date will be announced later.
(Kyle Lovern is the Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)