A child was swept away in flood waters in Jackson County, West Virginia, this afternoon, after much of the state's southeastern region had been issued a flash food warning due to heavy rain, according to officials.
A 2- to 4-year-old boy was swept away by swift waters behind homes on Utah Road, outside the city of Ravenswood, said Walter Smittle, Director of 911 and emergency management for Jackson County. His disappearance was reported at 4:25 p.m.
Three fire departments were dispatched to look for the boy, as well as other law enforcement and emergency service agencies, Smittle said. The child has not been located and authorities have suspended the search for the night.
Rescue efforts will resume in the morning.
The news came as authorities in Kanawha County said that they found a drowning victim in a separate incident. No further details were available and authorities were trying to recover the body.
Rescue efforts and evacuations were underway in West Virginia Thursday afternoon after flash floods ravaged several counties. Up to 10 inches of rain has fallen in Greenbrier County since this morning, while Richwood was expected to receive up to 6 inches of rain through 9 p.m. Both areas are already seeing significant flash flooding, according to the National Weather Service.
A flash flood warning was issued in East Central Nicholas County, Richwood and Clendenin until midnight, the NWS said, with flood waters moving down the north fork of the Cherry River from Summit Lake to Richwood. Residents were advised to seek higher ground immediately due to the "particularly dangerous situation." A tornado watch and severe thunderstorm watch was also issued until about 10 p.m.
The NWS originally reported that the dam at Summit Lake was breached by flood waters, but the dam remained intact.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued a state of emergency for Nicholas County and Greenbrier County, adding that mudslides, rockslides and flooding caused by the severe storms has damaged homes, businesses roads and bridges.
"... Certain portions of Greenbrier and Nicholas Counties have been rendered inaccessible because of public infrastructure damage," a statement from the governor's office read.
The flooding marks the worst in history for Greenbrier and Nicholas counties, said Kim Gross, a representative for Gov. Tomblin.
Photos taken in Richmond and Greenbrier County show buildings and roads immersed in flood waters.