Massive floods sent raging waters across parts of West Virginia, killing at least 26 people and leaving hundreds stranded, officials said.
It is the deadliest U.S. flash flooding event since May 2010, according to CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar. In 2010, flooding killed 27 people in Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced 14 deaths at a news conference Friday afternoon, with the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management reporting hours later a total of 23 dead.
Early Saturday, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office said three people died overnight.
Trees and power lines fell as heavy rains sent creeks and rivers over their banks late Thursday and early Friday, leaving many stranded residents waiting to be rescued.
â€” Morgan Radford (@MorganRadford) June 24, 2016
The governor declared a state of emergency Thursday night in 44 counties, covering most of the state. Eleven counties, located in the northern and eastern panhandles, were not on the list.
The cities of Elkview, Clendenin and Frame in Kanawha County have been particularly hard hit by the flooding, officials said.
Tomblin activated 200 National Guard members to assist in eight counties and has authorization for as many as 300 more to help with the rescue and response efforts, the governor’s office said Friday.
“Together with the National Guard, our first responders, local emergency management officials and firefighters from across the state have been working around the clock, and we are deeply appreciative of their efforts,” Tomblin said in the statement.
â€” CNN International (@cnni) June 25, 2016
A 4-year-old boy was washed away by floodwaters in Jackson County, officials said. The child was playing with his sister behind their home when he fell into a stream that had instantly turned into a rushing current after the relentless storms. An 8-year old boy from Ravenswood in Jackson County was also killed in the violent storm.
â€” BBC Weather (@bbcweather) June 25, 2016
Severe damage to homes and infrastructure can be seen throughout the state, residents said. At one point during the height of Thursday’s storm, there were 64 active emergency calls in Kanawha County, according to county spokeswoman Brooke Hylbert.