Crews still searching for 3 people after flooding sweeps away over 100 homes in Virginia: “Everything was gone”

Authorities in a remote part of southwest Virginia have located all but three of the 44 people who were reported unaccounted for after after sudden and severe storms washed some homes right off their foundations. 

Buchanan County Sheriff John McClanahan said Thursday that authorities have made contact with 41 people, leaving three people unaccounted for in Buchanan County, Virginia, McClanahan said in a statement. He said there are no reports of injuries or deaths.  

The powerful floodwaters washed away more than 100 homes Tuesday—devastating the community in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. 

“Well, it’s just mudslides, trees, and road. Water’s been in the road and it’s houses in the road, and it’s just a mess,” Buchanan County resident Archie White told CBS News. 

The overnight storms caused landslides and debris to block roads and bridges to be completely washed out. 

Officials from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said that downed powerlines and downed cell towers are making it difficult to contact dozens still unaccounted for. 

“As they make their way back to the shelter, we’ll do reunification and be able to check that box off, where they had, you know, they lived and and go basically house by house and figure those things out,” Virginia Department of Emergency Management Search and Rescue Specialist Billy Chrimes said. 

Due to widespread power outages, about 3,700 homes are without power, according to Appalachian Power.

This region is no stranger to recent severe weather. Last August, remnants of Hurricane Ida washed away homes and killed one person. Less than a year later, residents say they have been battered yet again. 

“Everything was gone. I mean little communities right here, people lost everything, and it’s sad,” one resident said. 

As power and cell service are restored, officials expect the number of unaccounted residents to go down. 

The sheriff’s office has set up a hotline for residents to add names to the search list. That number is 1-833-748-1424. 

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