Update, June 27: The Professional Golfers’ Association canceled the Greenbrier Classic tournament due to the flooding in the area. As of Monday, the death toll from the flooding across West Virginia was 23.
Original post, June 24
A relentless torrent of rain swept over West Virginia Thursday, flooding many areas in the state. Greenbrier County, home of the famed Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, was among the hardest hit.
Floodwaters inundated the Greenbrier’s signature golf course, where the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour’s Greenbrier Classic is scheduled in two weeks. It’s unclear whether the course will recover in time.
“It’s like nothing I’ve seen,” said Jim Justice, owner of the Greenbrier in a statement. “But our focus right now isn’t on the property, the golf course or anything else. We’re praying for the people and doing everything we can to get them the help they need.”
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) said at least 14 people have died in the flooding.
The resort experienced flooding in its casino while the “the vast majority” of its sporting facilities were underwater, West Virginia’s Metro News said.
“All actions are being taken to keep all guests and Team Members safe, and that is the focus of everybody at this time,” the resort said in a statement.
Although the rain has ended, the flooding was ongoing early Friday.
The National Weather Service warned: “Historic and very serious flooding was still ongoing across much of Greenbrier County. Rainfall of 8 to 10 inches fell across the county Thursday. Most creeks and streams and the Greenbrier River remain above flood stage with several roads closed across the county. Even though the rain has stopped, there is still an emergency flood situation across most of the county.…”
PGA Tour professional Bubba Watson, who owns a home at the Greenbrier, tweeted a photo and video of the golf course, which more closely resembled a swollen river:
Local rivers crested at record or near-record levels up to seven feet above flood stage:
Flooding was widespread throughout West Virginia on Thursday. “Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issued a State of Emergency Thursday night in 44 out of West Virginia’s 55 counties, all but the Northern and Eastern Panhandle counties, in response to the flooding,” reported West Virginia’s Metro News.
“The flooding marks the worst in history for Greenbrier and Nicholas counties, said Kim Gross,” a representative for Gov. Tomblin,” ABC News reported.
The flooding arose from a nasty complex of storms that originally developed near Chicago late Wednesday. It formed on the edge of a bulging heat dome centered over Texas. Following the jet stream, the storms surged through the Ohio Valley into West Virginia where they unloaded the devastating rains.
More photos of the flooding: