When the US state of West Virginia was flooded, the death toll rose to at least 23 people. This was confirmed by the governor’s office. Meanwhile, the forest fires continued to spread in the arid Pacific state of California. At least two people died and hundreds had to flee their homes.
The floods in the eastern Appalachian state of West Virginia were triggered by unusually heavy rainfall in the past few days. The masses of water carried people away and washed away houses. There were also landslides and mudslides. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency in 44 counties.
In addition to many houses, streets and railroad tracks were also destroyed, the governor said. Tens of thousands of people were without electricity.
In Elkview, northeast of the capital Charleston, nearly 500 people were stuck in a shopping mall for more than 24 hours because floods caused an access bridge to collapse. Employees of the state disaster control agency had to build a makeshift gravel road to bring people to safety.
According to meteorologists, the Elkview River level had risen more than eight meters between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, the highest level since records began more than 125 years ago.
Meanwhile, around 1,100 firefighters were on duty in Lake Isabella, California, to contain the flames that were already spreading over 14,000 hectares.
At least 150 buildings in the fire area around 175 kilometers north of Los Angeles were destroyed and 75 damaged, and another 2500 were at risk, according to the fire department.