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More than 100 homes damaged by flash flooding in Buchanan County

An aerial view of flood damage in Buchanan County.
Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management
An aerial view of flood damage in Buchanan County.

There have been no confirmed fatalities caused by Tuesday night’s flooding in Buchanan County in southwest Virginia. But rescue crews say more than 40 people are unaccounted for.

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, officials said they believe most of those people have not been able to communicate with worried relatives who reported them missing. Later Wednesday evening, the sheriff's office clarified the number at 44. "This number reflects the number of people that has been reported to law enforcement by loved ones and family members as being unable to make contact with them," the office said in a post on facebook. "This does not mean the person is missing, it means we are attempting to reach and locate the person and check on their wellbeing."

At the news conference earlier in the day, Billy Chrimes with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said more than 100 houses in the Whitewood area of the county have been impacted. "The severity of the damage to the houses is not as extensive as we saw last year with some of the flooding in Hurley. However the number of houses that were affected is significantly more," Chrimes said.

Rescue crews from as far away as Roanoke County and Lynchburg have been going door to door. Numerous roads and bridges have been blocked or washed out.

A shelter is in operation at Twin Valley Elementary in Oakwood. There is also a hotline for missing person reports and for those who have now located loved ones: 1-833-748-1424.

Wednesday afternoon, Governor Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergencyto allow more state resources to be mobilized for the response.

This is the second significant flash flood event to hit Buchanan County in less than a year. Flooding damaged a number of homes in the Hurley area late last summer.

David Seidel is Radio IQ's News Director.