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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB026 (2002)

ARLB026 West Virginia Amateurs help state deal with flooding

QST de W1AW  
ARRL Bulletin 26  ARLB026
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  May 9, 2002
To all radio amateurs 

ARLB026 West Virginia Amateurs help state deal with flooding

Amateurs in West Virginia continue to assist in the wake of recent
flooding. The state has recorded nine deaths since severe
thunderstorms May 2 dumped more than five inches of rain over the
southern West Virginia coalfields within a few hours.

ARRL West Virginia Section Emergency Coordinator Mac McMillian,
W8XF, says several roads in the hardest-hit region in and around
Welch and Webster counties remain closed due to flood damage, and
''uncounted'' families have been forced from their homes. Schools in
McDowell County remain closed. Gov Bob Wise has declared a state of
emergency in several counties.

''Amateur Radio involvement has been done locally on battery-powered
repeaters in the affected areas.'' McMillian said this week. Amateurs
from the Charleston area volunteered to assist in Welch County.
McMillian said amateurs were able to handle a request from the state
Emergency Operations Center to provide back-up communication from
Welch to the state EOC in Charleston when a coal mine impound dam
threatened to burst. The impound was pumped down to safe levels
before that could happen, however.

Raleigh County Emergency Coordinator Tim Zutaut, KC8PMI, said this
week that Raleigh County ARES/RACES was monitoring the Welch 145.45
MHz repeater. A McDowell County ARES group has been using the
repeater to assist with communications into and out of the county,
he said. ''Our group is set up at the Red Cross to assist them with
any traffic and needs they may have,'' he told McMillian.'' From the
reports I have received, the damage there [McDowell County] is very

McMillian said the McDowell County 911 center was flooded, and more
than two-thirds of the telephones in the affected area were not
functional in the immediate aftermath of the flooding. Some cellular
telephone sites have remained operational, however.

In Virginia, flooding in Buchanan County affected more than 2500
residents and caused damage estimated at $30 million. Two people
drowned in the community of Hurley. Flooding also affected Pike
County, Kentucky, and one person drowned in that state.


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