TERRIBLE 1985 FLOOD 38 YEARS AGO - "Watching Houses Float Over High Girder Bridge"

By Bob Weaver

It has now been 37 years since the devastating flood of 1985 impacted West Virginia.

Living in Preston County at the time, we stood on a steep hillside above Albright on the Cheat River and witnessed houses float over a high steel girder bridge.

Two family friends saw their homes float down the Cheat.

The devastating flood slowed life in the region for two months, as we took-in homeless folks to live in our small abode.

On the morning of November 5th 1985, thousands across West Virginia and surrounding areas woke up to one of the worst natural disasters in the state’s history. Flooding rains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Juan brought up to 10 inches of rain in spots, forcing many rivers and creeks to overflow their banks.

Several rivers across the northern half of West Virginia crested 10-15 feet above flood stage. In Philippi, the Tygart River crested at just over 31 feet, 4 feet higher than recorded than any other flooding event. The devastating flooding resulted in 47 fatalities and caused an estimated 580 million dollars worth of damage.

Over 3,500 homes and 180 businesses were destroyed. Towns that were hardest hit were Rowlesburg, Glenville, Marlinton, while Pendelton and Grant counties saw the largest loss of life.

It remains also one of the costliest and deadliest floods in West Virginia history.

See   THE WV THOUSAND YEAR FLOOD NOV. 1985 - Forty Seven Die