Community reflects on five years since deadly flood tore through West Virginia

The historic amount of rainfall caused deadly flooding in areas of Virginia and West Virginia in June 2016

It was this day in 2016 that parts of Greenbrier County experienced what the National Weather Service called a “thousand-year flood.”

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – On this day back in 2016, communities were forever changed by the tragic flooding in Greenbrier and Allegheny counties.

The flooding claimed the lives of 23 people in West Virginia.

In the city of White Sulphur Springs, homes were torn apart.

“It just took us by total surprise. It took so many lives and we really were affected because of the number of people’s homes that were taken and were simply ruined and washed away,” said White Sulphur Springs resident, Shirley Lynch.

But new possibilities were born once the storm cleared, like Brad Paisley Park which was funded by the country singer, along with a playground dedicated to Mkayla Phillips, a 14-year-old who lost her life in the flood.

“Though the flood was a bad thing, no one can say it was a good thing, but it brought out the good in a lot of people,” said former mayor, Lloyd Haynes.

Since 2016, the city of White Sulphur Springs added a memorial to honor the lives lost to the flood.

“We want to keep this memory alive, and we want to always remember the people who died, and, you know, the wonderful contributions that everybody has given to bring that talent back to life. It’s actually better than it ever was. The town is flourishing now with generous people in this world,” said Lynch.

As for what the next five years will bring to White Sulphur Springs, current mayor Bruce Bowling says his city is just getting started.

“Our job is to keep that momentum going. We’ve got lots of infrastructure projects getting started. It’s transformed the whole town,” said Bowling.

The city of White Sulphur Springs is hosting a memorial service to honor the anniversary of the flood on Saturday at Road Hogs Bar-B-Que at 3 p.m.

About the Author:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.