W.Va. Floods Offer Lessons for Katrina Victims

Downtown Mullens, W.Va. i i

Four years after the flood, local officials are working on a strategic plan for Mullens that includes revitalizing the downtown. Melissa Block, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Melissa Block, NPR
Downtown Mullens, W.Va.

Four years after the flood, local officials are working on a strategic plan for Mullens that includes revitalizing the downtown.

Melissa Block, NPR
Harold Worley stands in water during the July 2001 flood in Mullens, W.Va.

Harold Worley stands in water during the July 2001 flood in Mullens, W.Va. He's now the city's mayor. Courtesy Janet Weaver hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Janet Weaver

A visit to communities in West Virginia that were devastated by flash floods in 2001 offers a glimpse into what Gulf Coast residents can expect as they struggle to recover from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.

In New Orleans, and along the Gulf Coast, many questions remain unanswered after Hurricane Katrina: Will business come back? How many people will leave for good? What will remain of those communities? Four years ago, those same questions were being asked in southern West Virginia, which suffered a smaller but still catastrophic disaster.

Melissa Block reports from Wyoming County on the lingering effects of the floods, long after the water receded.

Correction March 14, 2006

We reported that 11 inches of rain fell in four hours on the day of the flooding. But a rain gauge was malfunctioning, and the actual rainfall was about half that amount.

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